Arabella Edler commits to run DIII track and cross country for UCSC


Photo Courtesy of Arabella Edler

The first Boston Marathon occurred in April 1897. 70 years later, the first woman would run this marathon. She was Kathrine Switzer. 

In a Forbes interview, she said, “At the time the prevailing mindset and myth were that women were not physiologically able to run 26.2 miles. They said women couldn’t do something that arduous, that it might turn a woman’s features into that of a man, and a doctor had told me straight away that my uterus would fall out.”

In 1967, she proved these claims to be exactly what they were, myths. A woman can run 26.2 miles and more, and a woman will still be a woman whether she runs or not. To this day, Kathrine Switzer remains a hero and idol to many women and athletes; she paved the way for more opportunities for female long-distance runners like Arabella Edler. 

Edler is a senior at AGHS and on April 18th, 2021, she officially committed to run cross country and track for the University of Santa Cruz. At UC Santa Cruz Edler looks forward to competing at the collegiate level and majoring in Environmental Science. Thanks to her parents who remain her number one supporters both in the classroom and on the track she has the opportunity to pursue both her academic and athletic career. 

I was exposed to several sports at an early age which translated to my later success and motivation to stick with running. My parents constantly support me through the ups and downs of my sport and performance plateaus,” said Edler. 

Like Switzer, Edler races competitively for the joy and thrill it gives her. It was never really about the title of 1st place, Edler enjoys racing alongside other dedicated girls who push each other to achieve their best times.

I absolutely love racing. On the starting line, I crack jokes with my competitors and hold an easy-going attitude when around my teammates at practices. Likewise, I’m very meticulous and pay close attention to my overall position and the clock.”

Edler’s high school cross country and track experience, not only presented her with many fulfilling opportunities but gave her a team that she’ll never forget. Her teammates helped her become mentally and physically stronger, and during the tough time her teammates were right there to help get her through it. 

“My high school career definitely was a wild ride. The team was very young and inexperienced my freshman year but has come a long way since. Qualifying to the state cross country meet in division one was a huge accomplishment and an incredible experience. Likewise, qualifying to larger invitational races such as West Coast Relays and Arcadia Invitational certainly helped increase my competition and personal bests. I absolutely adore my teammates and having the opportunity to run beside them everyday made my running experience so much better.”

Even though Edler enjoys running with all her heart she didn’t always want to run collegiately. She knew college sports were demanding and sometimes took away from academics, which matters more to Edler, because a degree would give her the best opportunity to achieve a job she would love. Traveling means missing classes and tests, constant practices limited study time and the two combined sometimes leads to lower grades.  

Edler competing in a cross country meet. Photo Courtesy of Arabella Edler

Initially, after talking with D1 coaches, I was very hesitant to pursue collegiate athletics. I felt that competing in college at the D1 level would take away from academics, which is my main motivation to attend college. At that point, I dropped the thought of running collegiately all together. Early fall 2020, I  applied to twelve colleges with the mindset to focus entirely on academics.”

It wasn’t until her eyes were opened to other possibilities that don’t lead to grades suffering that ultimately changed Edler’s mind.

“I was contacted and met with the UC Santa Cruz distance coach near the end of the year who informed me of the holistic approach the university considers regarding academics and athletics. This allowed me to consider the student-athlete opportunity more considerably,” said Edler.

For someone who hasn’t experienced it or fallen in love with it, running may seem like an activity for people to go around in circles or a way to burn calories. However, for Edler and her teammates, it is so much more than that. 

I think running symbolizes perseverance, technique, grit and wisdom. The reasons my teammates and I pursue running may be different, but running ultimately serves as a mental outlet for all its pursuers,” said Edler. “When I go out to run I can channel and focus all my stress and energy into fitness which helps me set up the day ahead or reflect on the day past. I also believe that running is a very technical sport when I’m driven towards improvement…Ultimately, my biggest competition within the sport is myself.”

At the end of the day, Arabella Edler is excited for this coming fall where she will make her first debut as a UC Santa Cruz cross country and track athlete. Go Banna Slugs!