TCC's Own Champion

Takes Things in Stride

When Elizabeth (Eder) Northern ran in her first race at age four, little did she know that years later she would be participating in the Olympic trials. What drew her to running as a sport? “It doesn’t take a lot of skill and I’m terrified of spherical objects,” she laughs. To run fast is satisfying and freeing, according to Northern, who joined the TCC staff in early 2013 as a Title III research analyst in Institutional Research.

Northern won the Half Marathon and 10K for women at the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth this year. Last year, she set a new record for women in the Cowtown Marathon and plans to compete in the Ultra Marathon and 5K next year. She would love to win in all five races for the annual event.

In October 2013, Northern qualified to participate in the 2016 Olympic trials when she finished the Chicago Bank of America Marathon by beating the required time of 2:43. She will run in the trials in Los Angeles in February 2016.

Liz at Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs
Liz visiting the Olympic Complex in Colorado Springs

Northern considers working at TCC’s Trinity River Campus and running to be mutually beneficial. She appreciates the campus’s close proximity to the Trinity Trails because she runs at lunch one to two times a week. The running helps her focus more on her work and energizes her for the rest of her day. Northern says her team in Institutional Research has been very supportive of her running. Her coworker, Jim Brown, a former NCAA basketball player, has a grandson who ran in the Cowtown Marathon. Brown cheers Northern on, relating to her on an athlete-to-athlete basis.

Running every day, Northern averages 60-75 miles a week when she is not training. When preparing for a marathon, that total can reach up to 90 miles a week. She says it has brought her and her husband, Will, a Fort Worth realtor, closer. Will often rides his bike alongside as she runs. The couple was married in May this year.

Northern’s hard work is paying off. In addition to qualifying for the Olympic trials earlier this year, Northern became a member of Team Hurricane for Saucony. Team members consist of top-tier athletes who serve as ambassadors competing in communities across the nation while wearing Saucony gear.

Running and training provides valuable life lessons for Northern who says it puts things into perspective. “I’ve gotten very good at being uncomfortable,” she says. If she has a rough day, she remembers to take things in stride. “Sometimes things do not go as planned.” When that happens, it is important to adapt and keep going.

Northern believes that running and competing is 90 percent mental. “If your mind has the will, it is amazing what the human body can do. Optimism goes a long way and persistence is key,” she says.