Christensen finished fifth overall in 22:15, 27 seconds behind
Kusutani, who finished second. Next to finish for the Lady Sea
Warriors was sophomore Janine Brown, who finished 31st in 23:18.
After that freshmen Rachelle Miller finished 86th in 25:19,
and Masako Sagawa took 93rd in 25:48. HPU's women took eighth
overall, two spots better than last year.
Christensen began running at 16, and began competing at 18.
She graduated from Rodovre Gymnasium in 1994. Since she did
not have sports at her school, she had to run by herself. Starting
as a 400-meter runner, Christensen realized her legs were not
fast enough, so she ran longer distances and soon became a 5
She came to HPU in 1999 when former HPU star runner Christian
Friis told her “that it was a nice university.” Christensen
said she thought coming to Hawai‘i would be interesting. During
her freshman year at HPU, Christensen earned All-American honors
and finished sixth overall in the National Championships.
In 2000, Christensen red-shirted and moved back to Denmark.
She was told running only one season was okay, and since she
had already started her education in Denmark, it was a natural
choice to go back.
Christensen returned in the 2001 season and proved that she
could still dominate the sport when she again captured five
individual titles and was named West Region Female Athlete of
the Year. She again placed sixth overall in the National Championships,
earned all-conference, all-region, and All-American honors,
and was named women’s cross country team scholar-athlete.
Despite her virus, she still managed to win several races,
including the University of Hawai‘i Big Wave Invite, in which
Div. I teams from the mainland competed. Christensen said she
feels very good about her teammates. “They are all so funny
and easy to be around,” she said. “So it’s a pleasure to go
to practice.” Unfortunately her virus kept her from nearly 50
percent of the practices.
Christensen's success as a runner has been influenced by a
60-year-old friend in Denmark. “He helped me when I was about
to quit and made me start believing in myself,” she said. “He
picked me up every day for a while and took me to different
and interesting places and I loved it—I never thought running
could be so peaceful and so much fun at the same time.”
Christensen said that stubbornness and the ability to put up
with a lot of pain during races are her strengths as a runner.
However, she said she is not good at doing quality training,
especially such cross training as weight lifting. When asked
what motivates her to win races, Christensen said, “I think
it’s an instinct you either have or not. Sometimes I wish I
would be a little bit more relaxed and just participate, but
when the gun goes off, I just want to win.”
Editor’s note: Chris-tensen and Kusutani competed in the
NCAA Div. II National Championships at Ashland Univ., Ohio,
on Nov. 23. This meet will be covered in the Jan. 13 issue.