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Turn Back The Clock: High School Careers Revisited


July 5, 2000

Welcome to the first installment of Turn Back The Clock: High School Careers Revisited where we are interviewing America's top distance runners about their high school (and college careers). Today's interview is the first in a series of interviews in conjunction with runwiththebuffs.com, and it is with US 1500 meter runner and 1996 Olympian Juli Henner.

A 1988 graduate of W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Virginia, Henner went on to a college career at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and currently trains with the Reebok Enclave in Washington, DC.

In the midst of her preparations for the upcoming US Olympic Trials, Henner shared her thoughts on her high school and college career earlier today with LetsRun.com.

The Juli Henner File:
Height: 5-6
Weight: 123
Born May 13, 1970 in El Paso, TX
Current Residence: Washington, DC
High School: Woodson HS, Fairfax, Va '88
HS PRs 200m: 26.5 , 400m: 57.0, 800m: 2:14.
College: James Madison '92
College PRs: 800m: 2:08, 1500m: 4:20.
Coaches: Pat Henner and Frank Gagliano
Affiliation: US, Reebok Enclave
PRs: 800m: 2:00.80 '96, 1500m: 4:06.68 '95; 3,000m: 9:03.59 '95

Click here to see a 1997 bio of Juli Henner as compiled by USATF.

Q and A With Juli Henner
(July 5, 2000)

LETSRUN.COM: Tell us a little about your high school career. How did you get drawn into running? It's not the most popular of sports.

JULI: I began running in 3rd grade. I had some competitive clubs where I grew up (in Virginia). I was the fastest in those Presidential Physical Fitness Tests and just fell in love with the sport then.

LETSRUN.COM: Did you run both cross country and track in high school? What events in track?

JULI: No, I never ran cross-country until my junior year in college. I was more of a sprinter in high school. I ran the 100, 200, and 400. My senior year, I did the 800.

LETSRUN.COM: Did you play any other sports?

I played basketball through my sophomore year in high school.

LETSRUN.COM: What advice would you give to someone in high school today? What do you view the keys are to being successful?

JULI: I think persistence is the biggest factor that helps me with my running. I wasn't a superstar in high school or college, but I ended up making the Olympics. If running is something that you love and you're improving year after year, keep at it.

There are so many high school runners who go to those running camps and think that they'll never be able to compete in college. That's not really true - there's a program at every level - they just need to do their research and find out about all the opportunities

LETSRUN.COM: How did you end up choosing JMU for college?

JULI: I ran a few fast times in high school, but I wasn't that focused on being a great collegiate runner. I just kind of went where my folks went to college. I was very naive. I was just very fortunate that I had a great college you (Pat Henner who is now Julie's husband).

LETSRUN.COM: Do you have any impressions of today's crop of high-schoolers?

JULI: I think it's a very impressive group. They're running times I didn't even dream of in high school. I just hope that they end up finding the proper guidance to fully develop their careers. Too many college coaches want to get all they can out of the athlete for the sake of the program and they don't do what's bets for the athlete.

LETSRUN.COM: What were high school and college p.r.s?

JULI: In high school, I ran 26.5 for 200, 57 flat for 400, and 2:12 for 800.

In college, I focused on mostly the 400/800 my first year and then gradually moved up. I ended up running 2:08 (for 800) and 4:20 (for 1500) before getting out in 1992. I've improved a lot since then.

(Editor's Note: Improved a lot she has as Henner now boasts p.r.'s of 2:00.80 for 800 meters, 4:06.68 for 1500m, and 9:03.59 'for 3,000m.)

Click here to see what Juli has to say about the upcoming 2000 US Olympic Trials.

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