Getting to Know ... Andrew Hudson

Andrew Hudson, 37, is the head girls and boys cross country coach at Collins Hill High School. The former All-American at the University of Virginia is also co-head coach of the girls track team as well.

In this latest installment of "Getting to Know...," Hudson talks with staff writer Corey Clark on a variety of topics, ranging from Collins Hill's star runner Jackie Drouin to his personal fitness regimen to his future goals.

CC: Does Jackie Drouin, winner of six state championships, owe everything to you?

AH: No, no, no. She owes everything to her parents, and as far as running in particular, to her dad (Bob). He's been working with her since she was young ... they have a very close relationship. They have about as close a father-daughter relationship that I can imagine. They work great together. And I'm glad to have them both, they both mean a whole lot to the program.

CC: How much do you personally run per week now?

AH: I try to run anywhere from five to nine miles a day. And I try to do it five to seven days a week. I don't train competitively anymore, I've gained too much weight. I'm just running to stay in shape.

CC: What's the most miles you've ever run at one time?

AH: I'm not sure, I probably had a couple of 17-mile workouts in college.

CC: So you weren't like Forrest Gump - where you'd just keep running and running?

AH: No, no. I can't wrap my mind around a marathon. I think people that do that are crazy.

CC: What is your body like after you've run a distance of 17 miles - do you start hallucinating or anything?

AH: Well, when you're fit, it's not as bad as when you're not in shape. But you feel a total drain. You feel totally drained. You're spent and you're weak, but at the same time you feel a real sense of satisfaction in what you've done. I always feel like I'm pushing my body to the limit and that's when it feels great. I love to feel sore and beat up. A lot of people can't handle that - unfortunately some of the runners on my team can't handle that - but I've always thrived when I'm spent.

CC: Do you let your runners listen to iPod's when they're running?

AH: I don't really say anything about it, but I really don't want them to have them at workouts because they can't wear them in races. You have to deal with your own thoughts when you're racing, you can't have headphones, so I want them focused on competing. I'm not a big fan of them for competition runners.

CC: What's your favorite band - who would you be listening to if you had an iPod?

AH: At one point, it was the Beatles. I also really like Coldplay and Radiohead.

CC: What's the best movie you've ever seen?

AH: I used to be a huge movie buff in college and I used to have a list of my favorite movies of all time. I loved "Citizen Kane" ... I had such a respect for that movie, and I thought it had such an amazing narrative structure - especially for the time it came out.

CC: What's the worst movie you've ever seen?

AH: Oh gosh, I would have to say the Dukes of Hazzard. I could not even sit through five minutes of that movie. It was embarrassing. And it wasn't even funny bad, it was just embarrassingly bad for everybody involved.

CC: You didn't pay to see it in a theater did you?

AH: No, I got it on Netflix. I don't even think I made it through the first 10 minutes. And my (14-year-old) stepdaughter is shooting me a mean look right now.

CC: Well they were kind of aiming the movie at that demographic.

AH: Well, I guess they succeeded. But they definitely lost me.

CC: So what's the deal with the Kenyans and distance running, and more importantly, can't you get a few of them into your program?

AH: (laughs) Well, people always tease me about recruiting, but with the Kenyans I just think it's a combination of factors that make them incredibly successful ... A lot of them do live in altitudes and a basic fact of their lives is a lot them literally have to run to and from school every day. And running is so important in their culture, it's truly important, like football is in the United States. Being a distance runner (in Kenya) is the greatest honor, and they are supported tremendously financially. They are treated like royalty in that country in a lot of ways.

CC: Did you always want to be a coach?

AH: Oh yeah, even in high school. I just knew. I would help the other runners on our team, I would talk to the other runners. And I was a student of the sport, and a fan of the sport ... and I was fascinated with training programs. And a lot of the things I experienced as a runner, that weren't so good in my mind, I've tried to correct them in the way that I coach.

CC: How much longer do you want to do this - have you ever thought about getting into administration?

AH: I think every teacher at some point thinks about administration, but then you discover the reality of what administrators do. And that's not something I want to be a part of. I just wouldn't enjoy it as much as being in the classroom with students. That's why I got into education in the first place, to work with students. Being in a classroom and growing with the students, that's what I want to do. I can see myself doing that until the day I die.