Interview: Fawn Dorr

Fawn Dorr is an 11 time All-American hailing from Penn State University, she is now a professional Brooks runner.

She has had an interesting journey in Athletics having had to change her preferred distance from 1500m/2000m Steeple down to 400m Hurdles due to two accidents suffered in High School which can cause seizures over longer distances due to dehydration.

As well as this Fawn hold dual American and Canadian citizenship – this led her to the 2012 Canadian Olympic Trials where she narrowly missed out on a place in the Canadian Team – c’est la vie says Fawn, there is always 2016!

In addition to her athletic exploits Fawn also maintains an extremely interactive and inspirational presence on Twitter. She has become a point of contact and interest for younger athletes whom she encourages with kind words and motivational back and forth on a daily basis. She is also a face of the No H8 Campaign to promote the issue of marriage, gender and human equality.

When did you start running and did you have any particular reasons for starting?

The first time I knew I had a niche for running was in elementary school when we had an Olympics contest in gym. I think I was in 3rd grade. I won every event except the softball throw. I started competitively running cross country in 7th grade because an upper classman dared me to. So I joined the team. My coach was wonderful. I was a very confused and slightly disturbed child. She made me believe in myself. She gave birth to my dream as much as she supported it.

If you could run with and/or race anyone, anywhere who would it be and where? Over what distance and on which surface?

If i could run with anyone, it would be my grandfather. He was a runner himself and so was his brother. He died years ago when I was at the Big Ten Championships. He never actually got to see me run in person, only on video tape. I never used to let anyone see me run. not my parents, not my friends. I NEVER invited them to see me race. I would actually go out of my way to avoid personal spectators all together. And now I wish I had let him come. I suppose that’s not the kind of answer you were expecting or looking for. But that’s the first answer that came to mind.

Running wise, who do you look up to and who had inspired you?

Growing up I idolized Alan Webb. Who didn’t?! But the first time i met him in person, he was an asshole. He was arrogant and I quickly realized I NEVER EVER wanted to make anyone feel the way he made me feel; beneath him. That’s why I make it a priority to talk to my Twitter fans and I gladly sign autographs. I hope I never make someone feel that way. As I grew older I really started to respect and appreciate Lolo Jones. Her story, her hard work, her struggle, her triumph, her marketing. I highly respect her! But as for inspiration, I am my OWN inspiration. No one gets me moving more than me. No one is greater invested in me than me. You don’t need idols or motivation or inspiration when it comes from within.

What are your favourite training conditions and are they the same as your favourite racing conditions?

I HATE the humidity. I’ve raced a few times in Florida and just wanted to die warming up. Not to mention it ruins my hair. I like it warm. 70’s 80’s. I don’t even mind running in places like Arizona when it’s in the 90’s, so long as it’s dry. Although, most of my personal bests have been in the rain! For some reason, I’ve always had a liking for blue tracks. Drake and North Carolina A&T have nice tracks. Those are probably my favourite. But honestly, I really like to train and race with good company. I could race in the rain on a cinder track so long as I was laughing and joking around with my training partners and friends. It’s important to have fun out there.

What is your fondest memory of running and, conversely, your worst?
My fondest memories are often small personal triumphs, when I did small things I never thought I could. When my body surprises me with its capabilities despite my doubts. I suppose my fondest memory was the first time I put on a Brooks Running neon yellow racing jersey at the USA Championships in 2010. I felt so honoured and so blessed that I cried. And my worst memory was losing the Olympic trials. Not making the team. I didn’t cry. I didn’t weep. I simply walked off the track defeated. It was the first time I ever felt defeated. Losing a race and feeling defeated are two very different things. I’ve lost many races. That’s a part of the sport. But there was always hope or room for improvement. After the Olympic Trials, there was nothing. There are no other words for something that breaks your heart and kills your hope – that is defeat.

Where do you see yourself in six years?

To be honest, I plan to retire after Rio. I’d like to publish a book I’ve been working on in the next year or so. I’m a journalist and a writer. That has always been my passion. I hope to make it to Rio and then start writing full time. I’m also in the process of managing my parent’s tourist resorts. I hope I can both manage my parent’s resorts and write after I retire from running.

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