Monday, March 15, 2010

Catching up with Lowell HS runner, Tamara Purpura...

Who is the fastest returning Northern California 800m. female high school runner from last year's state Track and Field meet?  Today we chat with that student as we hear from Lowell HS senior runner Tamara Purpura.  Last year, she finished 5th at the state meet with a time of 2:10.75 and is the 3rd fastest overall returner from last season (behind fellow seniors Paisley Pettway of Millikan-2:08.57 and Neausha Logan of Long Beach Poly-2:10.50).  She has won the 800m., 1600, and been a member of the winning 1600m. Relay team in each of her 3 seasons competing in the SF Section.  She is also a 3-time section champion in Cross Country (2007-2009).  Next year, Tamara will be attending UCLA on a Track and Field scholarship.

1) When did you start running xc and track and field?

I started to run as a freshman in high school. Before that, my only experience was when I ran in one meet during 6th grade in middle school.

2) What was your experience during your freshman season on the Track and Field team? Some of your achievements that year?
As a freshman, I was really excited to finally to be on a running team.  During that year, I ran my PR for the mile 5:03 and in the 800m I got a 2:15. I would PR every meet as a freshman. It was all so new and exciting.

3) When did you first start to believe that you could compete at the state meet with some of the best runners in the state?

I starting thinking I could compete with state meet runners when I got through trials at state meet (last season as a junior). I ran my best time of 2.11 and knew then that I could possibly place the next day.

4) What were some of your proudest achievements from last track season?

My proudest achivement last year was placing 5th in the state. I was really happy because I knew I ran the best I could for that season at the right time.

5) How has your track coach Andy Leong helped you become the runner you are today?

Andy has helped me become a good runner by always being positive and saying I can do it. Even if it is a bad day he is always understanding.

6) What are some of the more challenging workouts that you have done that you think help you in the 800m?

My most challenging work outs for the 800 are when Andy makes me run with the varsity boys in track work outs running repeat 200s and 400s . 

7) For somebody that is new to the 800m, can you explain some of the strategies you have used and how to best break up the race?

My strategy is usually to not take it out too fast the first lap and then kicking really hard the las 150 or so. But thats only if I'm running with good competition.

8) What are some of the reasons you ended up choosing UCLA? What other colleges were among your final choices?

I picked UCLA because i really liked the team and the coaches. the campus is also very nice. Its also by my big brother who goes to USC. My top two choices were UCLA and CAL 

9) What track and field meets are you looking forward to this coming season?

I'm looking forward to the Arcadia Invitational and Percy Knox Invitational. At Percy Knox we get to go to Magic Mountain the next day.

10) Favorite track meet? Favorite competitor(s)? Favorite place to run? Favorite cross country meet? Favorite cross country course? 

My favorite meets are in SF as far as weather goes. I HATE the heat. It is my worst enemy. As for competition, any meet in LA is usually good. My favorite place to run, just for a long run, is the great highway in SF next to the ocean. Its really pretty. I really dont like cross country. It is way too long to race, 3.1 miles is sooooo long. But I really liked the meet we ran in Oregon one time.

11) If you have to pick the most important qualities that are needed to be a successful distance runner, what are they?

If you want to be a good distance runner, you have to be excellent when it comes to the mental game. Running is only a fourth of the success. The other three-fourths is the mental game. As soon as you start thinking about how long your race is or how tired you're feeling and want to give up, your race is basically over.  You're never going to do well.

12) Anything else you would like to add.

I'm really glad I started running. Ever since I was in pre-school, my goal has been to be a gold medalist in track and field. Im going to continue chasing that dream through college and hopefully at least make it to the Olympic Trials one year.

Thank you very much for your time Tamara!  AJC.

As a side note to this article, if you are an athlete or parent in San Francisco, please check out SAN FRAN PREPS at  This site has done a great job picking up the slack covering sports in the San Francisco area due to the demise of many of local newspapers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow olympic trials

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