What an incredible ride it has been so far with this “5 Questions” interview series. We started off back in October with an interview with 2-time Olympic marathoner Kara Goucher. We then had a chance to catch up with running legend Bart Yasso. For the next few weeks we met with more amazing runners who ranged from a blogger, a podcaster and author, an actress/writer/director, and an inspirational author and life coach. It has been quite the journey so far! This week, to wrap up 2014, we are bringing it full circle with soon to be professional runner and Brooks Beast Megan Malasarte!
Megan was born in Atlanta, GA, and has lived there the past 22 years. She attended high school at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School in Georgia where she was a 6-time State Champion in both the 400-meter run and 800m. Malasarte continued her running career as a bulldawg at the University of Georgia located in Athens, Ga. In college, Malasarte played a role on her team by scoring at every SEC Championship meet both indoors and outdoors since her freshman year. She also holds the school record for the indoor and outdoor 800m. In 2012, she achieved her first All-American honors at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moine, Iowa, and placing 7th in the finals. Since then, Malasarte received All-American honors in 2013 and 2014 and also qualified for the USA Outdoor Championships in both 2013 and 2014 where she was a semifinalist. This past August, she competed for her first USA Team in NACAC (North America Central America and Carribbean Championships) Under 23 in Kamloops, Canada. She studies digital and broadcast journalism and communication studies, and will graduate this December.
Needless to say Megan has been busy! We are grateful that she was able to take a few moments before the holidays to share with us some insight into who she is and what she hopes to accomplish in her running career.
5 Questions With: Megan Malasarte
At the end of the month you will be graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in digital and broadcast journalism and communication studies. What did you learn about yourself over your college career that would surprise your pre-college self?
My pre-college self would have never thought that my college self would have loved and thrived in a university as large as the University of Georgia. I went to a small, private Catholic high school that had a total of 220 students and my graduating class had 54 students. Going to a university with 34,000 students was a huge change for me, but it probably was the best decision I ever made. I learned to love the size of the campus because of the many opportunities to meet new people every day, but most importantly, it was the first big step outside of my comfort zone and it’s been amazing ever since.
You have had a very successful college running career. Looking back, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
There have been memorable moments throughout my collegiate career, especially getting the privilege of competing in the (Southeastern Conference) SEC, but I’d have to say the moment I’m most proud of happened during my freshman year. I ran 2:07 for the first time ever in the 800-meter run and that moment made me realize my potential. I was a 2:17 girl in high school, and I would’ve never imagined running faster than that, let alone under 2:10. I honestly didn’t know what I could do at that time, and that moment freshman year gave me a sense of what I can accomplish in the 800.
Many track athletes find themselves competing in new distances once they leave college and go professional. Do you anticipate that your event focus will change, and if so, have you toyed with the idea of what events you would like to be challenged by?
I’ve thought of being more open-minded towards the 1500/mile because as an 800m runner, I do think it’s important to compete in those longer events to work on your mental and physical strength. I only ran a few 1500’s in college but I would like to run more of them post-collegiately to see what I can do at this point.
This past September you joined the Brooks Beasts team. What drew you to Brooks, what do you hope to be able to bring to the team, and what do you hope you will gain from joining the team?
The Brooks Beasts seemed as though it’d be the best fit for me because I liked the size, structure, and closeness of the team. Danny Mackey also encompassed what I was looking for in a coach because I could just sense his passion and excitement for the team. He understands his athletes as he’s been in the position of a professional athlete before. I hope to be able to bring forth enthusiasm, a positive attitude and motivation to the team. I would really like to gain the benefits of more intense training but an even deeper love for the sport and the 800. I’ve always felt as though I learned something new about running the 800 every time I raced it and I look forward to learning even more through my post-collegiate career.
The trials for the 2016 Olympics are still 1.5 years away, but I am sure preparation has already started. What is your plan to prepare and what are your hopes for the event?
To prepare for the 2016 Olympics, my plan is to have a solid 2015 Indoor and Outdoor season by improving on my times and being a step ahead of where I was from the previous year. I will place my full trust in Danny and his training plan for me, but I know that if I want to compete for the U.S. in the 2016 Olympics, it all comes down to doing what I need to do by staying healthy and focused.
Bonus: What US runners are you inspired by, and who would you hope to meet and run with some day?
Alysia Montano and Brenda Martinez are a couple U.S. runners that inspire me because of their guts and strength when they run the 800. I got the chance to run against Alysia a couple summers ago at USA’s and also this past summer. She was pregnant at the time!