Behind the Bearcat: Maddie Walker, Senior, Cross Country

Cincinnati Athletics includes more than 400 student-athletes who achieve incredible things on and off the field. Some become professional athletes. Some will later achieve great things in business, medicine or other professional fields. All will be Bearcats for Life. These are their stories.

Cross country and track and field distance runner from Cincinnati Maddie Walker goes beyond what it means for a student athlete. She spends her days as part of Cincinnati’s Co-op program at Mercy Clermont Hospital from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and still finds time to train and be a leader of the women’s cross-country team.

Walker had a fantastic start to her senior season, placing in the top 15 in both encounters that year. She placed second at the RedHawk Rumble 5K (September 3) and placed 12th at the Spartan Invite 6K (September 16). place of 217 athletes.

Learn more about Walker below!

How did you come to the internship in a hospital and explain what it is like to work there?
“The amazing thing about UC is its excellent collaborative programs that engage students to work in this field as part of their curriculum. My program works with healthcare providers to engage students to work with professionals in their field. I currently work in B. in a hospital, counseling patients, calculating tube feedings, screening for signs of malnutrition, and providing nutritional interventions and education to patients.”

How do you manage time in the hospital and while running for UC?
“Managing the time between hospital and running for UC has been challenging. Running 65 miles and working 40 hours a week isn’t easy! My coach and I worked together to make sure I could do it all while staying healthy and having fun! I work 8 a.m. to 4 a.m. and then meet my trainer at a park on practice days. I get a lot of one-on-one practice time with Coach Anderson and am grateful for her presence.”

You recently attended the Spartan Invite. Can you talk about the experience of running in such a big competition?
“Running in a big race like the Spartan Invite is always exciting. It’s both humbling and exhilarating to have your turn with such talented athletes. The bigger and more competitive the race, the more fun it is! You’re never alone in races like the Spartan. Invite yourself and you’re always pushed to do your best on the day.”

What time of day do you prefer to run?
“My favorite time of day to run is around sunset. It’s always the best time of the day and in the summer it’s a bit cooler and in the winter it’s the warmest time of the day!”

The 2022 season started at the RedHawk Rumble; How did it feel to open the season with a second place?
“Finishing second at the RedHawk Rumble was a huge relief. We had a big coaching change this summer and we were mostly on our own during the training period. It was a relief to finish the first race of the season hands free after a summer of coaching. It cemented some confidence and a relief that I was training properly!”

Why did you choose UC?
“Surprisingly, as a Cincinnati native, I had never set foot on campus prior to my first visit. I loved every part of the UC campus, team and culture. Academically, UC has a phenomenal diet program that I couldn’t refuse. Athletically, my future trainer and teammates have been amazing and shown me what it would be like to become a Bearcat. I love the campus, the people and the environment. It was just a bonus to be able to represent my hometown.”

What are your goals for this season?
“This cross-country season, the women’s team wants to leave the AAC with a championship title! We’ve become a major contender in the AAC since the Bearcats first joined, and we want to take home the first and final championship title for the Bearcats of the AAC. Personally, I have my eyes on the individual championship title and being a serious contender for the NCAA championships.”

What are your career goals?
“My career goals have changed over the years, but the desire to make it to the NCAA Championships is still a goal I strive for every day! Academically, I aspire to graduate and get my license as a nutritionist!”

What is your major and why did you choose it?
“I majored in Nutrition and Dietetics. This program drew me from an extremely athletic family that pushed our bodies to be the best in our sport. I ended up loving the science behind fueling our bodies.”

How did you get into cross country running?
“Funny story. Running off-road was an accident. My two best friends in middle school joined me and I came to a workout to hang out. In the end I decided to run at this workout and ended up running with the guys. I found out I was kinda good and decided to go along.”

Who is your role model?
“My role model is not one individual, but three. My older brothers all played college soccer and two played professionally. They taught me life lessons in sports and life. I strive to be like her every day.”

If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
“If I could have dinner with anyone in the world it would be Tom Hanks. He starred in my favorite growing up movie Forrest Gump (ironic, I know). His films were a big part of my childhood, so it would be cool to meet the man behind these iconic characters.”

Who is your favorite long distance runner?
“My favorite long-distance runner? That’s a big question. My favorite pro runner is a former teammate Ellie Leather. I couldn’t do it without her and I will always be her biggest fan!”

What is your favorite hobby?
“My favorite hobby is reading. When I’m not running or working, you can find me snuggled up in a book somewhere.”

What Makes UC Great?
“UC is great because of its diversity. Everyone has a story and it’s remarkable to be in an atmosphere where we all share and have fun.”

Who is your favorite artist and why?
“I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan. I grew up listening to her music and her music has changed with each new phase of my life. I secretly love her.”

Who is the funniest on the team?
I find Carmen light Is hilarious. One-Liner Queen.”

Who is the fastest on the team?
“I would say everyone. Each could beat another in a different event but lose in a different one. This makes running fun.”

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