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01/29/2023 08:07 AM

Donahoe Does it All for Branford Cross Country, Track

Colin Donahoe, a senior captain for the Branford boys’ cross country, indoor, and outdoor track teams, is continuing a championship running pace, as he nailed down the program’s second-best 600 time this winter indoor season. Photo courtesy of Colin Donahoe

No matter the event, the course, or its distance, Colin Donahoe never stops to improve upon his last run–a mental path that has paved the way to incredible personal successes in cross country, the classroom, and on the track.

The Branford High School senior and three-season athlete and captain in cross country, plus the indoor and outdoor track circuits, started with soccer before joining a running club in elementary school.

Upon becoming a Hornet, Colin decided to drop soccer to focus more on his feet with respect to running. The senior captain has already gotten out to a fast start this indoor campaign. Colin has qualified for the Class M State Championship meet in the 600 (with a time of 1:26.01) and 1000 (2:43.27) events. Colin’s time in the 600 was also the second fastest in school history.

“The biggest keys to my success have been dedication and, especially, the coaches with their support,” says Colin. “The personal records have been great, and just having that personal goal of always wanting to get better. I also looked up to the seniors when I was a freshman and wanted to be fast and role models like they were.”

For the near-record run in the 600, Colin recollects that he was in a very competitive slate. It may have created some apprehension, but he just went into it with a championship mentality.

“I was a little nervous before the run because it was nerve-racking as it was faster than I had ever ran,” Colin says. “It was an intimidating heat with many great runners. Yet I just went out there with the idea to do the best I could. It was a huge honor to set that pace.”

When it comes to switching up the seasons and sprint lengths, Colin denotes that pacing is quite pertinent. He adds that no matter fall, winter, or spring, it takes that extra special attribute to know when it is time to crank up the need for speed.

“I went into freshman indoor season with an injury from cross country, so I ended up being a sprinter, and then after a good junior cross country year, I decided to focus on distance for the benefit of myself and the team,” Colin says. “In cross country, you have to focus on how long the run is and have a pace. Pacing is a lot more important with cross country. You also have to know when to kick it into high gear with the 600 and 1000; you have to snap it in that moment. Having a crowd of support with track helps as well.”

Colin, additionally an honor roll student and co-President of the Italian Club at BHS, knows that he must compartmentalize the many items he juggles on a daily basis. Though whatever activity he is in during that moment, it will be 100 percent of his focus.

“It all comes down to time management. I focus only on schoolwork during school, but then I am only focused on track when I am at track,” says Colin. “At home, I balance doing homework and looking at times and races. As the years have gone on, time management has become a little easier for me.”

Now in the pivotal role that he aimed to emulate for his three prior seasons, Colin is happy and eager to set only the best of examples for the future of the Hornets’ program while giving them any pointers to produce when they need it.

“It has been rewarding to lead a great group of athletes, and I hope I have made them proud,” says Colin. “It feels surreal that life can come full circle from being that freshman that looked up to the seniors. It is also rewarding to give the younger guys advice on how to get faster.”

Branford indoor track Head Coach Rich Biondi speaks of Colin’s abilities and personality around others with only the best of superlatives. He adds that Colin’s success has helped his swagger grow exponentially.

“First and foremost, Colin is a likable young man who treats others with respect. I have had the honor of being his coach since the 5th grade,” says Biondi. “Over the years, he has worked so hard to improve. Once he experienced success, his confidence level soared. Colin is competing at a high level, and he is clearly one of the best middle-distance runners in the SCC. In school, at practice, and while competing, Colin Donahoe is a terrific ambassador for the indoor track program.”

As he treks towards the postseason meets, Colin has his mind, body, and spirit locked into making school history and grasping some solo hardware before jet-setting into the outdoor campaign during the springtime.

“For the postseason with indoor, I hope to break the school record for the 600. Hopefully, with enough training, dedication, and skill, I can do it,” Colin says. “I want to try and win an individual title. Then, I hope to go into the outdoor season both fast and healthy.”