Born to Run Lifts Gibbs’ Spirits For The Extra Mile

Name: Maggie Gibbs

School: Cactus HS

Year: Senior


800m - 2:22.78 @ Last Knight Qualifier

1600m - 5:15.61 @ Westside Invitational

5km - 17:56 @ Nike Desert Twilight Festival

Maggie Gibbs is a Senior from Cactus High in Glendale and is currently ranked 2nd out of Division 3 and 6th for all of Arizona. This season, she's finished at least top-four in all but one of her races and dipped under the 18-minute barrier at the Nike Desert Twilight Festival. Most recently, she handily won the Peoria District Championship Title.

Where are you from and when did you begin running?
I was born and raised in Arizona and I began running in the third grade.
Do you have a favorite pre-race routine or ritual you could describe for us?
My pre-race routine is to visualize how I want the race to happen. I like to imagine myself in the race while I warm up because it gets me pumped up for what is ahead. One of my rituals is to have the song "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen playing in my head because that song is always able to get my spirits up and help me focus and not get too nervous.
What has been your favorite moment in your cross-country career and why?
I would have to say that Desert Twilight 2018 was my favorite moment because I was finally able to break 18 minutes for the 5K. This has been my biggest goal since I started running in high school and being able to reach this goal gave me a lot of confidence for the rest of the year and helped me realize there is still so much that I can do to keep improving. It was also my first time running in the Sweepstakes race, which had such a great group of girls to compete with, and my teammates and coaches were very supportive the entire race. It was a great atmosphere.
(Below: Gibbs placed 19th in the Girls Sweepstakes race at Desert Twilight with a lifetime best of 17:56.3.-photo by John Hays)
What's your favorite cross-country meet and why?
It is probably already obvious, but my favorite meet is definitely Desert Twilight. I love that there are so many schools running at this meet from all over because it shows how large the cross-country community is and that there are so many people who share the same interest. Also, I love being able to escape the heat for once and run at night. There is always a lot of competition in the races and it makes the whole racing experience much better because you get to push yourself knowing that everyone else is pushing just as hard as you.
Describe your coach and what they always affirm at practice.
I am blessed with the greatest coaches. Coach Levan, otherwise known to the team as Navel, is constantly giving me advice and is always giving the team such great workouts that continuously push us. He ingrains in our heads that each mile matters and to focus on one step at a time. His speeches during practice and meets always have me very excited to run and keep challenging myself. Navel's guidance has helped me break through plateaus and get myself out of my own way. And Coach Malmos is always there for anything we need and keeps huge smiles on our faces, as well. Both coaches have really helped me improve and reach my goals!
What are your goals for the 2018 HS Cross Country season?
This summer I focused on maintaining a positive attitude while running. In the past, I got in the way of myself because of my inability of focusing on improvements, but rather setbacks. My goals for the 2018 HS Cross Country season are to become more confident in my abilities. I was able to achieve my goal of breaking 18-minutes, so my next goal is to maintain that energy and continue to take time off, while also forming stronger relationships with my team to help us improve as a group.
How do you spend your "off time" away from school and the track?
This will sound VERY interesting, but usually I am doing homework or studying for tests. However, I also love to read or go hiking with friends. Recently, I have taken an interest into learning a language, so when I have time I have a book that helps me learn German.
(Right: Gibbs placed 3rd in the D3 Girls 1600m run at the AIA Track and Field State Meet.-photo by John Hays)
Your coach said that you learned about running nutrition over the summer to better understand how to use food to affect your performance. What principles did you learn and how have you applied them?
Yes, this summer I focused a lot on my nutrition! I have learned that eating good proportions of fruits, vegetables, carbs, and healthy sugars really helps runners get the energy they need. With long runs, speed days, and hill workouts, runners must understand that they need to fuel their bodies with foods that will keep them healthy. I have been able to apply these principles to my everyday meals, especially the ones before practice because those are the most important.
Do you have a role-model from years past at Cactus High School? If so, what was the most valuable lesson they taught you?
This may be different, but I actually look up to Gilbert Olivas, a sophomore on our team. He really pushes me during practice and is constantly helping me understand that there is always more that I can do to better my training. One valuable lesson he has taught me is that you should never be satisfied. Obviously you can be proud of your accomplishments, but you must always keep yourself in check and know that you can keep pushing and go the extra mile.
Are you involved in any other activities at Cactus High School? If so which one(s)?
Yes, I am a part of Student Council and I have the position of Student Body Vice President. I am also in the National Honor Society and a club called Youth Alive. I am a news anchor on our morning announcements, as well.
Will you race at any post-season meets?
Yes, I am very excited because I plan on racing at Nike Cross Regionals, as well as Foot Locker.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Yes, this goes out to my team, I love you guys!!

Fun Stuff!

If you could have any superpower what would it be?
I don't know if this is a superpower, but it would be awesome to travel anywhere with no expenses.
What's your favorite vacation spot?
I love the beach, so I would have to be unoriginal and say California, but it is just so beautiful! And I had the opportunity to travel to Europe this summer and that was an experience I will never forget! Also, anywhere with snow would be nice.
What's the last movie you watched?
I saw A Star is Born this weekend, and let me just say, I will forever be in love with the soundtrack.
What is your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject is either math or literature.
If you could go on a long run with any professional athlete who would you pick?
I would choose Emma Abrahamson because she has such a bubbly personality and is such an inspiration to me.