Tara Erdmann ’11: Why I Run

By Tara Erdmann '11

I was never a runner. With a closet full of shin guards, cleats and soccer socks, running shoes were what I threw in my bag for soccer conditioning.

I was never a runner. With a closet full of shin guards, cleats and soccer socks, running shoes were what I threw in my bag for soccer conditioning.

Not until my sophomore year in high school did I put on running shoes for a cross-country practice. My coach told me to go for an easy 40-minute run with the team, to see how I’d do. I felt like a deer in the headlights, because I didn’t know the route. So I started running with the top girl, a state cross country champion. Now I know that “short” run was the start of a path that would lead to LMU.

Today, running is completely part of who I am. It provides me with joy, structure, commitment and hardship, all of them juggled and constantly in motion.

In balancing academics, athletics and having a job, I have learned time management and the importance of “to-do list” sticky notes. I am a student for 24 hours a week and an athlete for 20 hours, and I work another 10 hours. I thrive on a busy schedule. When I have a rare day with nothing on my calendar, I still like to make sticky notes, just so I can scratch items off and feel as though I have accomplished tasks! Being a student-athlete has kept me focused on academics and my sport because I know that if I want to succeed in both areas, choices have to be made.

Running has become a spiritual part of my life. When I think about the gifts, talents and opportunities God has given me, motivating myself to train hard every day is simple. Knowing the talents we possess is the easy part; developing those talents to the best of our ability is the hard part. When I committed to LMU, I promised myself that I would develop my talents and not waste what God has given me. I am grateful each day for the opportunity to obtain a great education and do what I love.

The competitive aspect of the sport is addicting. Every time I step onto the track for a race, I can almost guarantee that I will run faster than my previous personal best. For me, it is about withstanding pain at a higher level of tolerance than before. There are no timeouts or halftime breaks in my sport — it is all or nothing. When I am finished with LMU, my path will continue from where it started six years ago. But now I call myself a runner.


Tara Erdmann ’11, of Tucson, Ariz., is the most accomplished female track athlete in LMU history. This past June, she competed in two events at the NCAA National Championships, the 10,000-meter race, in which she finished 21st, and the 5,000-meter race, in which she finished 12th. She has been named an All-American runner five times, earning the honors in cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track. This past spring, she ran the fastest 10,000 in Division 1 athletics, and she holds the LMU record in the 5,000. Erdmann graduated in May 2011, but she was a redshirt athlete in cross-country for a season and will compete this coming fall on the LMU cross-country team.

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