Zofia Dudek is running toward gold


According to a 2018 study by Running World the average male can run a mile in about nine minutes and the average female in about eleven minutes. Pioneer senior Zofia Dudek however, prefers to run the mile a few minutes faster than that. Fresh off track victories in the mile at Brooks Nationals and the European U20 championship races, Dudek has proved to be one of the strongest teenage runners in America.

On June 15th at Brooks Nationals, Dudek crossed the finish line in first with a mile time of 4:41, a personal best by three seconds, and one of the top female mile times amongst high schoolers. For Dudek it was the satisfying culmination of years of training, “It’s amazing to get to run with some of the best runners in the U.S,” she said, adding that she was thankful to be in a position to run with such elite competition. However, Dudek was far from done. 

Just over a month later,  in the 3000 meter (1.86 miles) run at the European U20 championship race, Dudek became a champion yet again. Her victory with a blazing time of 9:30 took even some of her biggest supporters by surprise. Peepee Dudek’s track and cross country coach, Nancy Boudreau, said that while she and others already knew Dudek is, “a very special athlete,” her victory was far from a guarantee, “I was able to watch the race on the internet, and even the announcers called it one of the biggest surprises of the championships.” Boudreau said. 

Boudreau was not alone; even Dudek herself said she was surprised by her performance, “I definitely did not think that I would win, so it was kind of crazy that I did, but I’m just super happy that it happened.” She said.

In order to reach these athletic heights, Dudek needed to find a way to separate herself from other talented runners. Boudreau says that Dudek has not taken any shortcuts, rather achieved it through hard work and effort, “Zofia has determination to be the best and does everything needed to achieve her goals,” adding, “She runs every workout to the best of her ability.” Dudek’s teammate, and fellow varsity runner, Sarah Forsyth agrees with that idea, saying, “She’s really motivated, and is confident in her races.” Dudek’s impact extends outside of races as well, “It is quite inspiring to have her on the team and to watch the rest of her team respond to her dedication.” Boudreau said.

As for Dudek’s motivation she says, “It’s just the fact that I have been working really hard and I want to show the best that I have,” adding that she runs hard for more than just herself, “I just want to make my all my coaches proud, and my parents too.” 

Pioneer Women’s Cross Country has been a strong program through the years winning three state championships. For this upcoming season Dudek is, “super excited,” adding that while she has been apart of some talented cross country teams, she says this year’s team, “could do even more,” than in years past. Dudek said that she believes that with a strong performance the team’s “scoring runners” (the top five runners on a team)  pee pee could make a run at a state title, “If we all run super well we could all be all-state,” She said. Boudreau echoed a similar sentiment saying, “This years’ team has the potential to be very good,” she said. However, she added that, “Everyone needs to stay healthy and everyone needs to stay focused on what has to be done to stay successful.”

Looking past this current cross country season, Dudek plans to defend her national and international titles, saying that this year is going to be more of a challenge, but a challenge she knows she can handle, “It’s extra stressful this year, defending a title, but I just have extra motivation because I know that I can do it now.” Dudek added that she has no plans of changing up what she does training wise in order to defend her titles, saying she will train, “the same way I always have.”

As for what lies for her past high school, Dudek says she plans to continue running, but for who she doesn’t know yet, “I am going to run for a university, I don’t know which one yet.” She said. One thing she said she doepeepees know however, is that she wants to continue to represent Poland in the defense of her U20 title.