17 Miles for 17th Birthday

December 11, 2020

Stella Christensen, junior, has been running since she was 10, now seven years since her start, Christensen decided to celebrate her 17th birthday by running her age, in miles.

She said that her 17-mile run was the hardest run she’s ever done.

The miles 12, 14 and 15 were the hardest to push through, and at mile 15, she almost quit. But with support from her teammate Laci Provenzano, senior, they were able to push through the last six miles together.

“Laci said to me, ‘You could quit now (at mile 15), but you won’t. You’re not turning 15, you’re turning 17,’” Christensen said. 

When Christensen finished, she found herself in disbelief.

She even surprised herself when she looked at her watch after finishing. Her pace was faster than she thought, and the entire run ended after 2 ¼ hours.

Christensen joined the Cross Country team in 7th grade and hasn’t shied away from it since. At the Litchfield Invitational, on October 3, 2019, she set her 5k personal record: 22 minutes and 40.9 seconds.

“Mentally, it makes me feel really good to run,” Christensen said. “I really love the feeling I get from it and there’s really nothing else like it.”

Along with her mentality, Christensen feels this same energy towards her teammates.

“The environment and the people that are in the running community, especially in Minnesota, is amazing.” 

Christensen believes that the reason she continues to run is due to the motivation and atmosphere created by her teammates. 

Although she doesn’t know where yet, Christensen plans to continue her running career at the collegiate level after high school.

Christensen will be a captain for the cross country team during the 2020-2021 school year along with Emma Gray, Henry Scheible and Sam Gausmann, juniors. 

“I’m really excited,” Christensen said. “That was something I had wanted since 7th grade.”

Instead of boasting her captainship as a win over others, she talked about it as a partnership with all four of the senior girls.  She hopes to bring everyone, from all levels on the team, together. 

“I can’t wait to see what we can all do,” Christensen said.

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