Madeleine Burns: Durango To Princeton


Madeleine Burns' Best Marks 

800 - 2:19.16

1,500 - 4:37.27

Mile - 4:55.71

3,200 - 10:36

5k - 17:22


Q) Talk about the recruitment process - what other schools were you looking at, and how did you come to choosing the Princeton University?

Coming into my senior year, I had a list of about 7-10 colleges, and I slowly narrowed it down from there. It was a challenge to sort out the logistics of visiting schools, but I took official visits to Georgetown and CU Boulder in addition to Princeton.

At Princeton, I fell in love with the campus and the academic environment. I was also excited about the young team and the opportunity to contribute to the program. Princeton really seemed like a place where I would be happy, both academically and athletically.

Q)  What do you plan to study at Princeton?

I plan to study engineering, most likely something along the lines of aerospace engineering.

Q) What event do you see yourself focusing on at Princeton?

Aside from cross country, I'd most likely focus on the 1500 - 5k range of events on the track, perhaps venturing as far as the 10k.

I'm also intrigued by the steeplechase, though I'm not sure if that's the wisest idea as I'm unfortunately prone to sprained ankles.  

Q) You've had success in the 1600 up to the 5k, what event would you say is your favorite, and why?

That's a tricky one... Though I developed a new love for the 3200 last track season, I'd have to say the 1600 still remains my favorite event. It's the perfect blend of speed and endurance and strategy, and it's always so easy to get swept up in the excitement of racing a mile. 

Q) You made a big leap from sophomore to junior year, what would you say attributed to such an improvement?

I definitely think a combination of factors contributed to my improvements last track season. I started working on core and hip strength to combat some nagging injuries, which helped me stay healthy. I also became a little more deliberate about prioritizing certain races so I was able to maintain consistent training throughout the season. And lastly, I gained confidence in my ability to commit to races and put myself out there.

 Q) The first results we have on you on MileSplit is 15:42 3,000, 26th place finish at the Southwest XC Challenge in September 2013 - what do you remember from this competition?

That was my first-ever cross country race! I recall having absolutely no clue what to do, and so I just followed the older girls around as they warmed up, got ready, and raced.

The race meandered through pine-filled woods on soft dirt trails - I can still picture the course in my mind's eye. The actual running part was challenging but I remember being so happy afterwards - I guess that's when I became hooked on the feeling of racing. 

Q) What got you interested in running in the first place?

My parents both ran collegiately at University of Notre Dame, so I grew up with the idea of running in the back of my head constantly. I joined Durango's middle school cross country team in 6th grade and had such a blast running around on the trails of Durango and racing with my teammates that it wasn't really ever a question that I'd run in high school. I joined the cross country team my freshman year, and the rest is history!

 Q) Could you share any goals you have for your senior year?

I hope to set some PRs on the track this spring, as well as defend my state title in the 3200. Mostly, though, I want to make sure to soak in, for the last time, all the little moments that have made my high school experience unique and exciting. 

 Q) What would your favorite high school moment be?

One of my favorite high school moments was after my sophomore track season, when I traveled to St. Louis with my best friend and teammate, Abby Scott, for Festival of Miles. We both had amazing races - I broke 5 minutes for the mile for the first time, and Abby set a 5 second PR in the 800 - but I remember it more for how exciting, unexpected, and perfect it was.

I'd struggled with injury earlier in the year, almost ending my season prematurely, so I was simply grateful to be running again and hadn't even dreamed of breaking 5 in this race. It was also a week after Abby had graduated from high school, so going on this adventure together felt like the perfect culmination of our time as training partners and teammates.