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Bethlehem Taye Interview
By: Ryun Anderson

Bethlehem Taye initially climbed the ranks of Montgomery County distance running slowly before she broke into the upper echelon of runners in the state seemingly overnight during the indoor track season of her junior year. She won the last two 3200-meter state titles (indoor 2016 and outdoor 2015) and the last three Montgomery County 3200-meter titles (indoor 2015/2016 and outdoor 2015). In January, she broke a twenty-year-old indoor county championship meet record in the 3200m (10:53.70), and in March she won her section of the two mile at New Balance Indoor Nationals in 10:35.04 which ranks her among the top three Montgomery County runners all-time in that event. In four days she will anchor the first Montgomery County girls team to compete in the Penn Relays DMR since 2008 (she split 5:06 in the 1600m to help her team qualify). As we are expecting many more exciting accomplishments in the coming weeks, Mocorunning checks in with Bethlehem Taye of Paint Branch High School.

MoCoRunning: At what age did you begin running? Why choose this sport?

Taye: A very close friend of mine once told me that I could be great, so I listened and went for it. I joined my middle school cross country team at Takoma Park middle school and that's when everything really started.

MoCoRunning: Who do you see as your running inspiration?

Taye: My running inspiration would be Meseret Defar. Her work ethic, humility and impeccable drive to win is truly inspiring.

MoCoRunning: What was the biggest challenge you faced adjusting to the Paint Branch team coming from Blair?

Taye: The biggest challenge would be just adjusting to the overall environment. Everything seemed very different but the people around me made it easy to adapt.

MoCoRunning: What one word would you use to describe your racing style and why?

Taye: My coach always told that I was good at clicking each lap. So I would say I'm pretty smooth and efficient.

MoCoRunning: Was it a strategic decision to bypass the 1600 at this year's indoor county championship? What did it mean to you to go out and claim the indoor county record in the 3200?

Taye: It wasn't strategic at all. I just love the 3200 so I wanted to see how far I could take it. Plus, my coach wouldn't let me run the 4x800, 1600 and 3200. Claiming the indoor record was unreal. It's such a great accomplishment for me because I've worked so hard to get to this level and it was nice seeing it finally pay off. It was also great seeing my friends, family and coaches happy.

MoCoRunning: One of your greatest performances to date is one that will be officially recorded on your stat page, but that distance medley relay win at the Montgomery Invitational in which you ran about 5:10 for 1600 meters was incredible. What was going through your mind during that come from behind race?

Taye: Winning the DMR for Paint Branch was awesome. I wasn't happy with my 1600 time but I was glad I executed the plan and did my part to get us the victory.

MoCoRunning: Now that we are a few months removed, how would you describe your senior year cross country season?

Taye: My senior year cross country season was really fun and one I'll always remember. I'm just really glad I got to enjoy my last year with some great people at Paint Branch.

MoCoRunning: You ran with the leaders for a while at the Nike Southeast Regionals in Cary, NC this past cross country season. Were you trying to use that race to take the leap into the upper echelon of runners in the Mid-Atlantic?

Taye: My plan going into the race was to run hard and fight for as long as I could. I want to continue to progress and see how far I can truly go.

MoCoRunning: Last year you went from mid-pack cross country runner to a top state contender seemingly overnight. To what do you attribute your transformation from junior year cross country to junior year indoor track.

Taye: The back got crowded so I just put in the necessary work that was needed to enjoy the great view at the finish line. On a real note, none of it would have been possible without God, my amazing coaches, great training partners and awesome parents who made me some mean pasta bowls the night before my races.

MoCoRunning: Your 10:35 two mile at this year's New Balance Indoor Nationals places you among the best runners in Montgomery County history. How much better do you think you can get this outdoor season?

Taye: I like to surprise others as well as myself so I believe this outdoor season will be interesting.

MoCoRunning: Do you have a preferred food that you like to eat pre-race/the night before?

Taye: The night before I like to eat spaghetti or rice with beans and then after my race a chocolate chip Clif bar.

MoCoRunning: If you remember, what's the hardest workout you've ever done in your high school career?

Taye: The hardest I would say is the 400-800-800-400 workout. This workout makes you contemplate why your run track.

MoCoRunning: How is the college search coming along? Have you narrowed it down to a shorter list of possibilities?

Taye: After some time of thinking and analyzing I have to decided to run for North Carolina State University!


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