Freshman races to 17th at state


Freshman Juliet Frum races by the soccer fields on Aug. 31 in a dual meet against Glenbrook South. This season, Frum broke the program record for best girls cross country finish at state. Photo by Alex Garibashvily

As freshman Juliet Frum noticed runners around her slow down on the back loop of the course during the IHSA girls cross country state meet, she felt her energy increase for the second and final lap that would lead to her 17th place finish.
“When we get into the back loop … not as many [spectators] are there, so there’s not as much energy, which is [why] most people slowed down a little bit,” said Frum. “But for me, I always feel like I go faster at that point.”
Frum ran 17:02 in the state meet, breaking two Glenbrook North program records. She set a school record for the fastest girls cross country three mile time and had the highest state finish of any GBN girl runner in program history. Frum also earned All-State honors.
The energy and tempo of the state meet was higher than any race she had run before, Frum said.
“At the beginning when [the official] blows the whistle and then we [start running], I couldn’t even hear the whistle.
“The amount of girls running was insane, and … they even had a television crew riding in front of us,” Frum said.
Frum consistently finished near the top of the podium throughout the season, placing second at meets including the Central Suburban League Division Conference meet on Oct. 16 and the IHSA Regional meet on Oct. 23. She took fifth at the IHSA Sectional meet on Oct. 30.
When Frum joined the summer running program, she started out with group three, which runs the lowest mileage during practices, and progressed throughout the season to group one.
According to Bob LeBlanc, head girls varsity cross country coach, “All of a sudden, she could do a whole bunch [of hills] and you just looked at her pace, and … she was just flying.”
Juliet’s parents Karen and Alex Frum said in a phone interview that they always tried to make sure one of them was at meets to cheer on Juliet Frum, and Karen Frum, a runner herself, tried to catch Juliet Frum throughout different points to give her advice as she ran by.
“I run half the distance that she’s running just to get to as many places as I can to see her and yell at her … to give her an idea of what is going on around her.
“I run so much that I was told at conference that I needed to stop running next to her because I might [disqualify] her if an official at a more important race saw me doing this and thought that I was [pacing] her,” Karen Frum said.
According to senior Vaidehi Patel, she loves watching Juliet Frum run because of the energy she brings to races and practices.
“I told her, I was like,‘I’m going to come here every single state meet,’” said Patel. “‘I don’t care where I am for college, I promise you that I’m going to … see you there for the next few years.’”
Juliet Frum’s time dropped 31 seconds at state from her previous personal record. Tapering, a technique used by athletes to reduce training amount before a race to achieve peak performance, contributed to the drop in time.
“I was laying down on the ground at the finish, but I don’t think it registered in my brain.
“I was really surprised that I had dropped that much time because that’s insane,” Juliet Frum said.