Lakenheath's Doe is hard to catch on cross country trail
October 6, 2010
RAF MILDENHALL, England — Lakenheath cross country coach John Gilmore is waiting for Oct. 30 with great anticipation. Not because it’s the day before Halloween and he has a ferocious sweet tooth, but because he hopes to taste victory at this year’s DODDS-Europe championships in Schwetzingen, Germany.
He might even taste it twice.
Leading the charge for Gilmore’s girls team is senior Elizabeth Doe, a summertime transfer from Ramstein High School. She has posted a personal-best time of 20 minutes, 17 seconds this year — just two seconds slower than the winner of last year’s title race.
And back for his boys team is senior Archie Robertson, who took second in last year’s final, 10 seconds behind International School of Brussels senior Baudoin Fort, who has graduated, and nearly 20 seconds ahead of the third-place finisher.
Doe’s hard work and dedication to training is what sets her apart from the rest of the pack, literally, said Gilmore.
“Running is something that I want to use to shape my life,” said Doe, who has three first-place finishes in as many races this season. “I don’t want my life to be shaped around running.”
In addition to the normal academic requirements of high school, Doe’s extracurricular schedule includes training for, and attending, cross country meets all over England and other countries. Her weekly training regimen includes distance runs, sprint workouts, on-track training, hill runs, medium-distance intervals and 90-minute swim workouts three days a week before school starts. She also finds time to swim on Sundays.
“It’s hard to get up and keep going in the morning sometimes, but it’s all worth it,” Doe said. “I really enjoy competing in sports, and it really has helped me shape my character and achieve my goals.”
Doe also earned three top honors last season in the European Forces Swim League. She won first place in her age group in the 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyles.
“I think if you are going to put time and effort into anything, you may as well do your best so you can achieve the results you want,” Doe added.
During last year’s cross country finals, Doe recalled feeling stressed over the pressure of being a favorite to do well at such a large school as Ramstein.
“I’m not going to let that happen this year,” said Doe, who is a military brat but still considers Seattle her home. “Running is not supposed to be stressful.”
This year, as Doe looks forward to competing against her old classmates during the finals, she remains confident that she will do her best.
“I’m excited to race against them,” she said. “It’ll be some friendly competition.”
At her three races so far, Doe has finished more than a minute ahead of the nearest varsity runner, but according to Gilmore, the competition at the Europeans “will be a matter of seconds rather than minutes.”
The Lancers are scheduled to compete at SHAPE this weekend against a field that will have a strong Patch team that includes last year’s winner, Katherine Castro. Gilmore said that the increased competition should provide each runner’s best results to date and that the Lancers should be contenders for team and individual titles as long as everyone stays healthy.
Robertson could have a lot to say about the teams’ success.
“He is a natural runner and he’s got a perfect body for the sport,” Gilmore said, adding that Robertson also has great mental toughness and competitiveness. “He hates to lose,” Gilmore said.
Like Doe, Robertson has won all three of his meets this year by a considerable margin, Gilmore said, helping to feed the coach’s optimism.
“I’ve been coaching here for many years — to have this caliber of runners in the male and female categories is a first for me,” he said. “Their work ethic is top-notch.”