Emily Oren had never run a race over six kilometers before she ran the Detroit Half Marathon last Sunday. But it didn’t matter for the 2016 graduate and nine-time NCAA division II National Champion as she beat out over 6,900 other women to win the race by more than two minutes.
Oren said that after the gun went off and she got over her pre-race nervousness, the race was “pretty chill,” as she slowly cut down her pace to well below six minutes per mile over the distance of the 13.1 mile competition.
She finished the race in 1:19:48, averaging just over six minutes per mile.
“I talked with the people around me and it was surprising how it didn’t seem to drag on,” Oren said. “I wasn’t starting off in a sprint or anything.”
Oren’s plan going into the race was to push herself a bit more during miles five through 10, and finish hard in the last 5k.
“I think I did that a little bit before mile 10, so by the end I was a little bit tired, but I still negative split the whole thing,” Oren said.
Although Oren was a steeplechase specialist in college and she admitted that trying to find the right pace was a little bit “weird,” she eventually found the right rhythm, and didn’t even look at her watch after mile six.
After a surge in the second mile, Oren began to separate from the race’s lead pack of women, and then she said she began to separate from the second-place woman at mile six.
“That’s what made the last mile so hard, I knew if I held it together, I had it won,” she said.
Oren’s coach, Joe Lynn, who coached her for two years as Hillsdale’s assistant distance coach before leaving the program this past summer, said Oren’s race is a testament to the training she’s put in this fall.
“We’ve really focused on getting her out of her comfort zone and into situations that not only are challenging physically, but also involved a great deal of mental focus and resiliency,” Lynn said. “I’m really proud of her not only because of the tremendous job she’s done in this training we’ve done this fall, but in doing all this while working a demanding full time job.”
Moving forward, Oren said she hopes to run indoor track and post a time fast enough to qualify for the 2017 U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championship.
Lynn added that Oren’s training for the half-marathon is part of her training for the coming indoor and outdoor track seasons.
“I’d like to see her make a run at sub 4:30 in the mile and sub 9:00 in the 3k this indoor,” Lynn said. “For outdoor not only see her progress in the steeple, but run some national elite level 1500s and 5ks.”
Although Oren said that she would like to become sponsored by a shoe company and be paid to run full-time, she currently works in the Hillsdale College admissions office.
Emily Oren’s younger sister, Molly, is a senior at Hillsdale and is the captain of the women’s cross country team.
During her running career at Hillsdale, Oren set three individual school records as well as the NCAA Division II record in the steeplechase when she ran 9:50 at the GLIAC Conference Championship last May.