How Does She Do It? Lisa Fajardo Breaks Manhattan College’s 3,000 Meter Record

On Jan. 26, junior Lisa Fajardo set a new school record for the 3000-meter indoor race. She broke the previous record by four seconds, ending up with a time of 9:39:00 which was good for ninth overall and fourth among college competitors.

The Quadrangle: How did you get into running, and how long have you been running?

Lisa Fajardo: I started running just a few months before I started my freshman year of high school, and my mom has been running distance since she was in her thirties. So I kind of really had no interest in it, but my parents really wanted me to so some kind of sport or activity in high school, so my mom just figured since she was a runner it’d just be easy if she could just get me into it.

TQ: We heard you broke the school record for the 3000 meter. Congrats! To put it into perspective, how many times around the track is that?

LF: 15 times.

TQ: What kind of meet was this?

Junior Lisa Fajardo set a new school record for the 3000-meter indoor race, beating the last record by four seconds. GOJASPERS / COURTESY

LF: This was the Boston University Terrier Invitational, so it’s actually one of the bigger meets in the country, especially around this time. There was one other meet at the armory that was run, so it was kind of like the country was divided, half were at one meet and half were at the other. But it was very big so coming top ten at a meet like that was a really big deal for me because the last time I ran there I think I came like 60th place. So coming in ninth was big.

TQ: What was the race like? How was the competition?

LF: The competition level was really high because they have some professional runners running in the race and it’s broken up into multiple sections, and I was in the fastest section, so that’s the one the pros run in, so if there’s faster people in the front, that just pulls the whole race to be a fast race, so I was pretty nervous because I was one of the slower runners in the section. So I just kept my head on and knew to kind of ignore what the people in the very front were doing, and eventually I made my way up closer in the middle of the race.

TQ: What was your immediate reaction? Did you know you broke the record as soon as you crossed the finish line?

LF: I forgot about the record, I was kind of just going for a time that I felt like I was capable of running, and I was trying to go for like 9:45 or better, so I knew the record was in there, but when I finished I was just really happy to be under 9:40. So then my coach came over and was like, you broke the school record. I totally forgot but I was really excited.

TQ: You’ve broken a lot of records before, but does this record-breaker feel any different?

LF: Yes because the 3000-meter race is my favorite event, I like it better than cross country, I like it better than the mile or the 5k, so to have that record means a lot.

TQ: What other races do you run?

LF: So for track I run basically the mile, the 3k and 5k, but mostly the 3k and 5k. I just do the mile for some speedwork, or if I’m running in the distance medley relay.

TQ: How did you prepare for this race?

LF: Basically the same way I’ve been preparing for the rest of the season. We weren’t really gearing specifically towards the 3k, it’s kind of like I do the 5k training and then kind of target the 3k pace in the 5k training. That’s pretty much how we prepared.

TQ: Do you have any pre-race rituals?

LF: I have a lot, but a big one is if I’m here [at Manhattan College] the night before the race I have to eat at Broadway Joe’s. I have to have spaghetti and chicken.

TQ: You and another teammate won the MAAC Performer of the week. How does that feel?

TF: That’s really great. It’s actually so impressive for our school because me and Charlene Pohl both got it, so that’s both from MC. Last week Paige Chapman got it and then the week before I got it, so it’s kind of like MC is taking over the MAAC so far. So hopefully we can keep going for that.

TQ: What else would you like to accomplish this season?

LF: There’s another meet that’s going to be in South Carolina when we’re on spring break and my coach has the 3k record there, so we thought it’d be pretty cool if I could get that record. Just to take hers.

TQ: That’s it, but do you have anything else to add?

LF: Just wishing everyone the best of luck because people are competing in the Metropolitan Championships, and that’s kind of like the stepping stone to the MAAC Championships, so it puts us in good spirits if we do well there.