I just returned from Williamstown where I interviewed Peter Farwell, distance running coach, and spent a couple days in the school archives doing research (thanks to Linda Hall). I will relay highlights of interviews with national champion Rebecca Brooks ’00 and Peter.

Rebecca – Training became more focused her last two years when her brother Fletcher became asst. coach. Practices would extend from 1-7 PM (as long as there was no conflict with classes) and there was a weekly, month and season schedule with the goal being outdoors nationals. This helped Rebecca improve in consistency so she would be able to perform in the bigger meets as well as others. “Williams track was a specifically unique experience. Williams draws you in. That sport pushed me in ways more than soccer and basketball. I am much better off for it.”

Peter Farwell

Peter believes that currently there is too much emphasis on nationals, that there needs to be a balance between team and individual goals. He believes the Division Three New Englands is a good meet because it can involve more athletes who can contribute either by earning a seventh or eighth place or running a relay. Peter focuses on process rather than performance, valuing traits such as teamwork, having fun, and cultural values. He also focuses on such strategies as increasing stride frequency while maintaning stride length to improve speed and adjusting the athlete’s stride so the foot hits the ground below the runner’s body, to allow for more explosive power. Peter admires his predecessor Tony Plansky for not being super competitive but casual and well-rounded. He believes, “Being a coach is a good life- it’s meaningful – you can make a difference in people’s life.”

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