Paris runs her way into the record book

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

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Junior Kristen Paris placed first this past weekend in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:11.65 seconds at the Indiana Relays.

With that time, Paris is now the third fastest in Eastern history to run the 800.

Paris competes in the 800-meter run, the mile and the 4×400 relay. She faced some challenges at the beginning of the year when it came to her times.

“Preseason was good and then we got into turkey trials for starting our indoor season,” Paris said. “That was kind of rough, because I really wasn’t where I wanted to be, I felt like I was still running the same times I did last year.”

Paris broke her previous school record of 2:13.24 seconds, which she set last indoor season at the Grand Valley Big Meet.

She ran the 800-meter and 1500 in the outdoor season last year. Her season best in the 800 was 2:09.35 seconds in the OVC Outdoor Championships, putting her at sixth all-time on the Eastern career list.

Paris said she has been working on new improvements for this season since she has been healthy.

“I’ve been trying to get better at developing better strategies in a race and so far so good, been improving because normally I kind of zone out,” she said. “I had some shin problems and that’s just fatigue and stuff.”

She earned second team all-OVC in the 800 and was first team all-OVC in the distance medley relay team that was victorious with a time of 12:03.22 seconds last season.

Paris competed in only the 800 at the EIU Early Bird her freshman year and redshirted the outdoor season, and said she has noticed her improvement from last season to this season.

“I think the thing for me was last year because my indoor season was not good for finishing up, OVC did not end how I wanted it to,” she said. “Then I got to outdoor and I made it to finals in the (800) and placed second in the OVC. So I think that was just a big step up from where I was from indoor.”

In high school, Paris set school records in both the 800 and the 1600 at the state championships. She ran a 2:14.32 time in the 800 and 5:16.87 for the 1600.

Despite being one of the faster runners on the Panther track team, this would of never happened if she didn’t decide to do track. Paris was contemplating doing track back in her elementary school days.

“They had it in sixth grade and I said no I’m not running material,” she said. “Then I decided in seventh grade that I was going to start doing it so then I guess that’s where it started.”

Paris said she wants to be a personal trainer at some point after graduating from Eastern, but if that doesn’t work out she has other plans.

“I know I want to be a personal trainer at some point out of college but if my running career does end up getting a lot better it would be nice to do some pro running,” she said. “Post collegiately would be pretty awesome.”

Paris said she would not be here with the support of many people around her.

“Support from my team, Coach Akers because he has helped my training improve a lot and has never lost confidence in me and definitely my family,” she said. “They’ve been helping me a lot, they have been there at every meet supporting me and most of all god.”

Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].