At The Big Meet hosted by Grand Valley State University, a long-standing Allegheny women’s track record was broken. Emily Forner, ‘19, ran a time of 9:48.06 in the 3,000 meters on Feb. 9 in Allendale, Michigan.
Her performance beat the previous school record set thirty years ago by All-American and Allegheny Athletics Hall of Famer Christine Dudeck, ’88.
Forner’s success has not come easy. After winning Allegheny College’s Female Newcomer of the Year Award following her rookie campaign, Forner experienced some health issues.
“My health wasn’t right where it needed to be. I had an iron deficiency and was running really poorly,” Forner said.
Head Cross Country Coach Ben Mourer, ’07, also recognized Forner’s struggles both athletically and physically.
“Her sophomore year, she had some injuries and some illness,” Mourer said. “She had a lot of setbacks, and she really struggled,”
These tough times tested Forner’s dedication to the sport as well. Forner considered giving up athletics to recover, rest and heal.
“I thought about quitting and taking time away from the sport,” Forner said.
Instead of quitting, Forner began to seek treatment from a doctor for her condition and decided to stick with running. Mourer and Allegheny Head Track and Field Coach Justin Linzy said they were glad she did.
“I have to give Emily credit for sticking with it through her frustrations,” Mourer said.
Linzy said Forner’s attitude stood out to him. Despite her setbacks, he said she brings a positive attitude and uplifting energy to the team.
“Her attitude is always great. It seems as though the young woman is always in a great mood,” Linzy said.
Linzy also praised Forner on her work ethic, saying that although she faced health issues and adversity, she has the drive to persevere and overcome obstacles.
“Her work ethic speaks for itself,” Linzy said. “She’s very determined.”
As Forner began to right her condition, she said her running times and athletic performance began to improve.
Mourer said her times “skyrocketed” and Forner’s hard work and perseverance paid off at The Big Meet.
Forner’s time was fast enough to place eighth out of 43 runners despite running against a number of Division I and II athletes who are also talented in the sport and receive scholarships for their abilities.
“It can be scary, but these people are [on athletic scholarships], and I’m right up there with them,” Forner said.
Forner’s record-breaking time is likely to get her into the NCAA Division 3 Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championship, according to her coaches, but Mourer and Linzy have much higher goals than just getting to that meet.
“She’s going to be competing to be an All-American,” Mourer said.
The Championships are still a few weeks away, but Forner is not focused on them right now. Instead, she wants to focus on the remaining meets of the season.
“We still have a few more weeks until then. [I’m focused on] just getting out there and competing in upper level meets and competing well,” Forner said.
Forner and the Allegheny Women’s Track and Field team will compete on Saturday, Feb. 17 at the Mount Union University Raider Tune-up Meet in Alliance, Ohio.