An Interview with Middle School Runner Sadie Engelhardt


Sadie runs for the Ventura Tigres in California. She likes In and Out Burgers, The Cheesecake Factory, Instagram, Soccer, and loves to shop. She also recently ran a 4:57 mile. That’s pretty quick for a 12-year old, or anyone. After that super fast mile we asked Sadie a few questions to learn more about her love for running. This interview appeared in the July-August issue of Youth Runner Magazine.


Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs


Sadie, when did this running adventure start for you?


I was in age ten, in the fourth grade when I first started running. My mom had suggested that I try cross country because she said it looked fun. So, I started cross country at Poinsettia Elementary. In the beginning we just ran around the field for our long run. All I noticed was how boring it was, not taking note of how I wasn’t tired while running. My coaches automatically put me in the fastest group, knowing that I had potential and I could be a good runner if I put in the work. After a couple of practices I decided that I was going to quit after the first race. When I started my first race (it was a mile long) I was confused as to if I should stay with my team and run with them, but when I saw my coaches yelling at me to go ahead, I went my own pace. I remember being so happy when people cheered me on. At the finish line, I was all alone. There was absolutely no one in sight behind me and because of this, my mom thought that I had taken the wrong trail. To her surprise (and mine) I hadn’t. My time when I crossed the finish line was 7:02. After that race I have always loved running.


Photo by Klotz Images


Tell us about this last year starting with the 2018 cross country season up until now.


Last cross country season was really for me. In my middle school races, I had gone undefeated and made lots of new friends. After middle school XC, I went to nationals in Reno, Nevada and placed third. When cross country ended, track had started again and my goal was to break a five-minute mile. The first couple of races, I didn’t get the best times but I still knew that this season was the one where I would break five. The VCYTC Conference Championships was where I first broke five minutes. Two of my coaches were timing me on either side of the track so whenever I was off pace I could get right back on. The whole race, I felt so strong and I remember seeing the clock at the end and just sprinting while everyone cheered. VCYTC ended and it was time to start postseason/training for Oregon. This is where it got more serious and I needed to work extra hard. After my first postseason races, I got shin splints and took a few days off running. I was worried that the injury would hold me back and keep me from doing my best at Oregon and USATF. On Friday the 7th, I ran a 3000m in Downey at the USATF Southern California Association Championships and won with a time of 10:09, breaking my PR by four seconds. The next day, (Saturday the 8th) I ran the 1500m and got second by milliseconds with a time of 4:35.  After that race I flew to Oregon and raced the High Performance High School Girl’s Mile. I placed third with a time of 4:57.


What are your goals for the rest of the season?

To do well at the USATF Region 15 Championships and then go on to Junior Olympics in Sacramento.
At Regionals she ran 4:45.91 for 1st in the girls 13-14 1500m and 1st in the 3000m with a time of 10:30.78.


Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs


Advice for other runners?

It gets better, so don’t give up on running.



Best Times

10 years old (11-12 age group)

800  2:39

1500 5:11

1600 5:32


11 years old (11-12 age group)

800:  2:21

1500:  4:43

1600:  5:08


12 years old (13-14 age group)

800:  2:21

1600:  4:57

1500:  4:35

3000:  10:09