The Braden River senior talks the 800-meter run and the 'Rocky' franchise.
Alyssa Gagnon is a senior runner at Braden River High School. She won the 800-meter race (2:19.89) at the Class 3A District 10 meet on April 13.
When did you start running track?
At 7 years old. My dad (Bob Gagnon) ran at Southern Connecticut University and he got me into running.
What is the appeal to you?
It's different from a lot of other sports in that your biggest competition is you.
Why is the 800 meters your best event?
It's a combination of speed and endurance. I think it plays to both of my strengths. I have trained my mind to be tough in situations where others may fall short.
What is your favorite memory?
I have run at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex every year (for AAU Nationals qualifying), and that's always my favorite. You have Mickey Mouse cheering at you from the stands.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
Outside forces you can't control. Whether it's having a bad day (at school) or hearing someone say something that upsets you, you can't let it affect you. It's hard to put some things aside but on the track you have to learn to be all business.
What is your favorite movie?
I love all the 'Rocky' movies. You get pumped and motivated watching them. I listen to the soundtracks sometimes when I run.
What is your dream vacation?
Going to Spain. My grandmother (Marisa Alberti) is from there and I still have some family there. I'd like to visit them.
What is your biggest fear?
This sounds made-up, but it's finishing a race knowing I had more left to give. I try to do everything at 100% and I'm disappointed with myself when I don't.
What is the best advice you have received?
It's from my dad. He says, 'Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation causes your worst fears to come true.'
Finish this sentence: "Alyssa Gagnon is ... "
... Not afraid of hard work. I never shy away from something that looks intimidating or that someone else says is 'too hard.'