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Welcome Eleonora Curtabbi to Railroad Athletics!


Eleonora joins Railroad after a highly successful collegiate career at West Texas A&M. Eleonora is a two-time NCAA DII Champion in the 3000m Steeplechase and the reigning Italian Champion in the same event.


We caught up with Eleonora after she ran a Season's Best in the 3000m Steeplechase at the Sound Running Track Fest in Los Angeles.


"Welcome to Railroad Athletics! What led you to join Railroad after your collegiate career?"


Eleonora: "My college coach, Zach Daniel, told me about Railroad and connected me with Coach Hayden to join the team. I'm so glad because Railroad has helped me so much, and I can travel to California for these races and run for the team."


 

"What are your goals for this year? It's a big year for major championships, including the Olympics, but also the European Athletics Championships in your home country of Italy."


My goal is to run a good race at the European Championships. Last year, with my PR, I ran close to the standard. This year I haven't ran it yet, but right now, I am in the rankings.


(Editor's Note: Eleonora's PR in the 3000m Steeplechase is 9:40.90, and the European Standard is 9:37.00. She is currently ranked 28th in Europe; the Top 34 athletes qualify).


I am looking forward to running a good race and getting in the Final (of the European Athletics Championships). After that, my goal is definitely the Italian Championships, and then we'll see what comes after. Of course the Olympics are a big deal, but it is very hard to get in. The hope is always there, but this year I'm probably already too late in the rankings to get in. I never say never, sometimes, good things can happen, but I am just going to enjoy the journey this summer.


"What message or encouragement do you have for post-collegiate runners or anyone still wanting to pursue running at a high level?"


When I came here to the US, I was very surprised by the amount of people who thought that after college, they have to stop running. For them, unless you are the top elite, you have to stop. It's not true at all!


In Europe, we have clubs. We decide to be in the sport, and it doesn't matter what your age is, you can keep going until you want to. You can be 30, 35, 40, you can be 50 or 60 years old, you are running because you enjoy it and you want to do it. It's about you and yourself. It's not someone else telling you that you have to stop. I really hate the fact that people feel uncomfortable to compete post-collegiately, but it's very hard here (in the US), you have to be very elite to do it and have support. In Europe, with the club system, it's totally different. Railroad is exactly the example we have in Europe. A club to help you out because you enjoy doing the sport and you love to compete. At the same time, you can work, you can have a family, you can have a life, but you can still compete and do what you love. Running (competitively) is something you can keep doing until you want to stop, not because someone else told you to stop.


This interview has been edited for length and clarity. This interview was conducted in early May 2024, and since then, Eleonora has been named to the Italian National Team and she will be competing at the European Athletics Championships in Rome, June 7-12, 2024.

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