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The Discoverers: Madison Tillman, Athletics

Junior Madison Tillmann began running as a way to get herself ready for the rigors of her freshman soccer season, but now she’s found great joy and personal reward in pursuing running for its own sake.

“Once I get good at something, I just want to keep getting better and better,” she said.

Between her freshman and sophomore years, she ran six times a week in Hallowell Gym, trying to meet her coaches’ challenge of running a seven-minute mile.

“In the winter of my sophomore year, that’s when the love of running started coming out,” she said. Madison was drawn to the fact that a combination of running techniques, endurance and mental toughness was paying off.

“Once you put in the work, you’re going to get the results you want,” she said.

By the spring of her sophomore year, Madison was running fast enough to place third in the 400 meters, her specialty, in a Friends Schools League meet.

Ever since, she has considered running her full-time sport.

Along the way, she has learned that “50 percent of all track is mental. That’s half the challenge, telling yourself you can do it,” she said.

At her last track meet, she ran the 400 meters — 61 seconds, a personal best.

Madison is the first to give credit to her coaches and to her teammates for their role in helping to motivate her.

“The people who surround you are so important,” she said. “They give you motivation. I’ve never been part of a family so much before. We have good vibes, good energy.”

She said that her success in running has spilled over into other aspects of her life as well. “It has shaped me, making me more confident and more motivated all around.”

Madison expects to keep running in her collegiate career, whether at a D-I or D-3 college. “I’ll be honored to run anywhere,” she said, “as long as I can keep running.”

The hallways at Abington Friends are brimming with students who are on a journey, exploring fresh ideas and pursuing deep interests as they search to find their places in the world. Their eyes shine as they talk fervently about wanting to learn all they can in a field of academics, athletics or the arts.

Read more about “The Discoverers” in the Fall/Winter 2016 issue of Oak Leaves

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