posted March 02, 2018
Pitt-Johnstown’s Tori Fulkroad runs.
She runs for enjoyment.
She runs as a record-setting member of Pitt-Johnstown’s track and cross country teams.
She runs because she has not yet reached her destination.
“My main motivation is to continue to better myself and to keep putting hard work behind the scenes at practice so I perform at meets and, hopefully, run a time that will qualify me for the NCAA Division II track meet,” she said.
The marketing major with an entrepreneurship minor seeks a career that will tie into her passion for running.
“Running has been my No. 1 passion since I was a freshman in high school,” said the senior from Millersburg, PA. “There is no better feeling than going out for a long run to just clear your mind. Distance runners are a different kind of breed, because who actually enjoys running hours at a time?”
Fulkroad earned the PSAC Women's Cross Country Athlete of the Week on September 26, won medalist honors at the Juniata Invitational on September 9 and the St. Vincent Bearcat Invitational on September 23.
She holds Pitt-Johnstown indoor track records for the 3000-meter run, 10:02, and the 5000-meter, 17:42. Fulkroad also holds outdoor school records for the 5000-meter run, 17:31, as well as 10,000-meter, 37:27, and the 1,500-meter, 4:47.
"What makes Tori a special athlete is she works harder than the other athletes. She doesn't take days off or even holidays," said Carl Keifer, Pitt-Johnstown's track and field coach. "She is also ready to step up when we we need her to: whether in a relay or to help pace another runner.
"Tori will leave her impact on this program by holding almost every distance record on the women's side."
Fulkroad’s time of 5:04.64 broke a Pitt-Johnstown school record and earned her a runner-up finish in the Mile Run at the Kent State (OH) University Tune-up Indoor Track and Field Meet this year. She finished first in the 5,000-Meter Run in the Youngstown State University Indoor Invitational.
“Overall, I think just seeing where I started with my running career, to where I am now is just my motivation to keep doing what I'm doing,” Fulkroad said. “I have come a long way over the years and I just want to continue to better myself to be the best runner I can possibly be.
“In high school, I played basketball and soccer and I enjoyed them, but those sports, to me, don't compare to the thrill and the adrenaline rush you get from stepping up to the start line and hearing that gun go off. The feeling is indescribable. You just have to experience it for yourself.”
The next part of her journey brought her to Pitt-Johnstown.
“My high school track coach (Jill Steffen) was the one to get me to look into going to Pitt-Johnstown. Her daughters were on the soccer team and she suggested I give the college a visit.
“I grew up in a very small town, so I knew that attending a bigger college probably wouldn't have been the route I wanted to go. When I came here for visit, the campus size was perfect for me.
“That, and the campus itself was just a beautiful site.”
Regardless of where the next stage of her journey leads her, Fulkroad is certain of one consistency.
“I will continue running, even after my college career ends,” she said. “I think my true calling is marathons. So, after I graduate, I will be preparing to run the Boston Marathon in 2019.”
The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown is marking was founded in 1927 and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best in the Northeast” college, by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” and by Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization.” The distinctive combination of Pitt-Johnstown’s people, programs, and place results in exceptional performance in preparing students for career and professional success. Pitt-Johnstown is the regional leader, educating for success in the Real World.