February 25, 2004

Distance Runner Gingerich Answers Our Questions

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As the track & field teams prepared to defend their titles at the Indoor Heptagonal Championships (Sat-Sun, Barton Hall), Sun columnist Per Ostman ran down senior middle-distance runner Natalie Gingerich.

Q: Why is track & field the coolest sport?

A: It’s the one sport that is a pure measure of physical ability. You show what your body is capable of, how strong you are, how fast you are.

Q: You know I’m a rower, right?

A: Well, rowing’s like that, too. Track is great because it’s individual in that you compete by yourself, but you’re still running for the team.

Q: Nike or Adidas?

A: Asics.

Q: Asics? Are you kidding me?

A: I know! I was a die-hard Nike girl until this year. I finally switched over to these Asics Kayanos. They’re so comfortable.

Q: I hear that Nike doesn’t make a good women’s shoe.

A: Yeah, the last pair of Nikes I ordered with the team were the most hideous color of orange I’ve ever seen in my life. My coach took one look and said, “Yeah, you can get rid of those.” My Asics are orange too, but they came with this cool little keychain. It was a mini-shoe.

Q: So, you dropped Nike for a keychain?

A: Well, yeah.

Q: Do you prefer shorts, or butt-huggers (spandex brief-bottoms)?

A: Actually, we have these shorts that are kind of in between shorts and butt-huggers — we call butt-huggers “spankies” — and

Q: Wait, “spankies?” Where did that come from?

A: Oh, random people on the team called them that in high school.

Q: Uh huh.

A: Anyway, I like the in-between shorts best. They’re tighter than shorts, and there’s less wedgie-potential than with the spankies.

Q: You live between Cincinnati and Dayton. Convince me that Ohio isn’t the most boring state in the Union.

A: Hmm. Um, well, 10 minutes from my house there’s King’s Island Beach. It’s a water park.

Q: You’re selling me on a water park? That’s it?

A: Haha, I don’t really have any ties to Ohio. I’ve lived in a lot of places. I like the people, though.

Q: I’m told that you have a lot of pets.

A: Yeah, back home I have two cats, two emus, and some llamas. But I’m more a cat person than an emu or llama person.

Q: You don’t say.

A: I actually wanted a pony when I was growing up; I had model ponies in my room and an “H” encyclopedia that was all marked up. But my dad says now that I never actually wanted a pony and we got llamas instead.

Q: Do the llamas spit?

A: I’ve seem them spit, mostly at each other. Sometimes, the males and females get a bit testy. I actually was spit upon once. I got in the way and it hit me.

Q: Do you hold it against him?

A: No, I don’t really.

Q: What’s the hardest part about wrangling emus and llamas?

A: Aside from the spitting? Every once in awhile they escape and we have to chase them. Our neighbors will call and be like, “by the way, I saw one of your emus running through our yard.” I guess you could say that I started my running career chasing loose emus.

FloJo chased rabbits, and you have your emus.

A: [Laughing] Yeah, pretty much.

Q: What is the hottest men’s team at Cornell?

A: That’s a tough one. I saw that you asked this last week.

Yeah, so don’t say men’s hockey.

A: I feel like I’m being disloyal if I don’t say the men’s team; my boyfriend runs track. But I don’t know if I want to say men’s track.

No need for diplomacy. It’s not just one guy, we’re looking for top-to-bottom hot.

A: Hmmm. You know? You never see the fencers around campus. They might be hot.

I have no idea what they look like.

A: Yeah, I like a little mystery.

Q: You can speak both French and Spanish, along with a little English, I’ve noticed. Can you teach me to say something?

A: Well, what do you want to say?

“The emu runs quickly.”

A: El emu corre rapidemente.

Thanks, that’ll come in handy later.

Q: You spent a summer as an au pair in Spain. Are Spanish kids as spoiled as American kids?

A: They have completely different ways of acting. I don’t want to say anything that’s going to offend anyone.

Trust me, no one in Spain is reading this article.

A: Ok, well they have a very strong love-hate thing. People in the U.S. are so concerned with child abuse and stuff, but families in Spain will just go off and smack each other.


A: No, but they’re so much more affectionate toward each other, too. It’s an intense relationship.

Q: So, violence is the answe?

A: Hahaha, yes. “Violence is the answer!” Not really.

Q: What’s the best music to run to?

A: There are those who say that true runners don’t use music, that’s what purists think. But I like running to something. Last year, I listened to a lot of Shakira.

Q: Shakira, huh?

A: Yeah, I’m lazy about CDs. I never change them. I was listening to Bubbletoes by Jack Johnson a lot, too.

They go together well.

A: Our team is actually really into the 80s. When it’s too cold to run outside, we do laps around the halls in Barton and sing 80s songs.

Very eclectic.

Q: do you think I could beat you in a race?

A: That’s a great question. I don’t know a lot about you. I guess it would depend on the distance.

Q: How about from here to that trash can over there? It’s like 20 meters.

A: I’m not a sprinter. I’m going to have to give you the male advantage and say you’ll beat me. Although the feminist in me doesn’t believe in that.

Q: Okay, last question: Can you get Kate Boyles to go on a date with my editor?

A: You’ll have to run that by her boyfriend.

Archived article by Per Ostman