Every Thursday, Loudoun Extra will publish a brief Q & A with an area athlete or coach.

NAME: Tamara Buckman

SCHOOL: Broad Run

YEAR: Junior

SPORT: Cross-country

NOTABLE: Has been the Spartans' No. 1 runner along with freshman Audrey Pietrzyk this season. . . . Placed 14th with a time of 20 minutes 8 seconds in the B race at the William and Mary Invitational on Oct. 2, helping Broad Run win the team title. . . . Finished 18th with a time of 21:44 in the seeded race at the Hereford Bull Run Invitational on Sept. 25. . . . Named first-team All-Extra in 1998 after finishing second at the NOVA Invitational and 21st at the Group AAA Liberty District championships.

Extra: Why do you run?

Buckman: "It gives me a better personality. You need a lot of endurance to run, and people respect that. Football players run for 40 seconds at a time and are tired; they see us run for an hour and they respect that. I feel good when I run; you have to stay focused and train really hard. You go through so much; you have to run through the pain."

Extra: How do you respond to people who say that running is boring?

Buckman: "I just say, 'How come you play football or basketball? It's because you enjoy it.' I come from a family of runners. I enjoy running the same way that someone else enjoys football or basketball. When you look at me, you see Tamara the runner. You see me out there running hard for 20 minutes. It's not like basketball, where I might play for a couple of minutes and then sit on the bench for a couple of minutes. When I do something, I do it the whole way."

Extra: What do you think about when you run?

Buckman: "At the beginning of a race, I stay focused on where I should be, how I should start and what kind of pace I should run. Halfway through the race, I start to think about what I'm going to do that night--I don't constantly think about the race. At the two-mile mark, I usually get a cramp. I start to think about what could make my day better, how I'm going to push myself, and how when I reach the line, I'll know that I ran the best race I could. I don't want to focus on the pain."

Extra: How do you feel physically when you finally cross the finish line?

Buckman: "When I cross the line, I breathe hard for three minutes, and then I'm fine--I'm ready to run another race. I make sure that I walk around and get my breathing back. When I see other girls cross the line and throw up [from the effort], I sometimes think that I want to do that--I want people to think that I ran so hard that I had to do that. But I can't."

CAPTION: Tamara Buckman