Name: Geena Gall
Sport/Event: Track, 800m
Hometown: Grand Blanc, Michigan
Current Residence: Corvallis, Oregon
Years competing: Professionally, 3 years
How did you get started in your sport?
My older brother and sister were really athletic and they ran track. During the summer, my siblings and I would have mini track meets and I used to try and chase my brother and sister. That’s where it all started.
I ran my first “track race” when I was 5 years old. It was a bad memory for me because the starter’s gun shot scared me and made me cry.
I ran a few summers for a local track club and competed at the Hershey’s Track & Field Meet in Michigan, but never made it to the national meet in Pennsylvania. In 8th grade, I competed for Grand Blanc Middle School track team and continued to run track and cross country in high school.
What are some notable highs from your career?
I loved breaking records, and I broke almost every one for my high school (200m-400m-800m-1600m-4x400m-4x800m). I was a two-time high school Indoor National Champion in the 800m, and a Outdoor National champion in 2005.
The best highlight of my collegiate career was winning NCAAs in the 800m two years in a row (2008 and 2009).
Professional, making the World Championship team in 2009 and breaking the 2 minute barrier was a huge accomplishment for me.
What is the lowest point you’ve experienced? How did you bounce back?
The lowest point was in 2010, my first year as a professional runner. I was diagnosed with anemia and didn’t qualify to the US Championship final for the 800m. It was the lowest point in my career because my body wouldn’t allow me to run faster than 2:02. I eventually got my ferritin and iron levels back up, I ate the right foods, and I was able to train at a higher level. I ran under 2:00 three times the next year.
What are your goals, both short term and long term?
Short term: make the 2012 Olympic Team and run 1:58 or faster this year.
Long term: run a personal best in the 800m and 1500m and make every USA team in the 800m until I retire.
Would 2012 be your first Olympic team? If not, what is your fondest Olympic memory?
Yes it would be my first Olympic team. I have always wanted to go to the Olympics and compete for the USA, and I know that this year is my best year to make the team, God willing.
What surprises have you experienced in your career?
How much my body can handle and how I continue to run faster each year. It’s all very surprising to me to see how different coaches I’ve been with coach me to a higher level. I amaze myself each time I workout or run a fast time. I truly don’t know what my peak is and that is a really good thing!
What brought you to Oregon?
My fiancee Jason, the Oregon Track Club Elite, and TrackTown USA!
What is your favorite thing about Oregon athletically?
All the running trails and bike paths dedicated to runners and bikers. There are so many different kinds of running paths. As a runner, you don’t see that too often. Normally, I just run on the sidewalk or on the road, but in Eugene, I have so many options – it’s wonderful.
When you’re not training or competing, what do you like to do?
I love to go shopping. Spending time with my family & friends is the most important thing to me. I love to watch movies and tv shows Netflix.
Hobbies? Favorite restaurant? Favorite hangout?
One of my newer hobbies is to make different DIY crafts thanks to Pinterest. I enjoy cooking and watching the Food Network. I love Noodles & Co., a restaurant which just opened up in Eugene. I love to go dancing too.