Talitha is currently a senior who runs for Saucon Valley High School in Lower Saucon, Pennsylvania. She has been running for around 5 or 6 years. Due to her family's extensive background and roots in track & field, she continued the family tradition by becoming a runner. Talitha is a 4 time All-American, 5 time Pennsylvania State Champion and holds 2 Pennsylvania state records. She is currently top 5 in four different events and was one of the most highly recruited athletes in the class of 2020.
What's it like to hold the Pennsylvania state record in the 400 meters?
As a junior, it was a dream come true to run 52.82 en-route to a state title. There have been many great athletes to come out of Pennsylvania and to surpass their times was something I had wanted to do since 8th grade.
How would you describe the moment of winning 2 state titles?
I would describe it as an incredibly blessed moment that really showcased all my hard work in those two races. In Pennsylvania you have to run prelims, semis, and finals for the 200 meters and prelims and finals for the 400 meters. So running five rounds in the period of 2 days was a lot to handle. But with my training, I knew it would go well and I was excited when it did. Also my family and people from my school came to watch, so to make everyone proud while representing my town was a great moment for me.
What made you choose the University of Florida?
I chose the University or Florida because they have a culture of excellence and winning in all sports, but especially in track and field. Also my future coach, Mike Holloway, is a great coach and prides himself on his faith which is something that I really appreciate. Having won many national and conference titles at Florida, I wanted to be a part of the dominance that the Lady Gators display year after year. There was also a big focus on academics at Florida, as Florida is one of the top colleges in the country, there was a lot of support for athletes to be successful.
What are your goals for 2020?
My main focus every year is to trust God's plan for me and embrace the process. My goals for 2020 are to continue to work hard and become better in practice everyday. I like to focus on the little things because that makes the difference in training and recovery. I also want to remain disciplined and focused throughout the season because there are a lot of ways to get distracted nowadays. In light of the coronavirus, I am not sure what the rest of my season holds, but that is where trusting God and the process comes into play.
What's it like having a mom who was a 4 time Olympian and an aunt who was a 3 time Olympian?
It is always great to have such an experienced family especially since I am looking to achieve similar feats as they did. They are great role models and also bring a competitive spirit that makes me a better person and athlete!
What has been the most helpful piece of advice either of them has given you?
My mom's best advice to me is to remember where I came from and give back to my community. She has achieved so much success, yet still does camps and speaks within the community, I really understand the importance of remaining humble. My aunt's best advice to me is to always enjoy what I am doing and have fun. When I got to a higher level it was easy to be super serious and lose the “fun” aspect but I always remember how much I love to run!
What's the weirdest or funniest thing that ever happened to you while running?
It was funny when one time freshman year I had a top that was way too large on me so as I was running it kept falling down and I kept pulling it up as I was sprinting. I probably looked crazy while I was running.
What's your favorite types of fuel before a race?
My favorite types of fuel are fruit or oatmeal but nothing heavy. I also make sure to hydrate so I am ready to go.
What's your favorite cheat food & drink?
I love chocolate ice cream and half baked Ben and Jerrys!!!
Do you like ice baths?
I prefer epsom salt baths but either way recovery is super important. Training is pretty grueling on the body so ice baths/epsom salt baths, stretching, etc are the necessary tools to keep me 100% during practice.
In your free time when you’re not running, what hobby’s do you enjoy?
I like to read, listen to music, read fashion blogs, hang with my friends, and I love sports analysis, like football analytics.
When it comes to running, what would you say is your biggest strength and weakness?
My biggest strength is definitely my speed because it allows me to get out fast and I have closing speed at the end of my races. It is what sets me apart from other 400 meter runners. My biggest weakness is that I am still young (17) so I am still learning to listen to and understand my body. As I get older, during practice I will know how my body is feeling and responding to workouts, so I will understand what works best for me and how to manage it.
Who is someone you look up to in the sport?
Aside from my family members, the person I look up to the most is 3 time Olympic Champion Marie Jose Perec. She is my favorite athlete to study/watch and I look up to her because she is such an all-around sprinter and athlete like myself. I am 5’9 and she was very tall so I see myself with a powerful long stride like hers. She ran 10.9 in the 100 meters, sub-22 in the 200, 48.25 in the 400 and 53.21 in the 400 meter hurdles which are all times that I want to accomplish.
Where would you like to see yourself in the sport 4 years from now?
I would like to see myself maintaining my faith and making my hometown community of Saucon Valley, Pennsylvania proud. With God's blessing, I will become NCAA champion individually and also win a team title. I want to use my talents to inspire people, so going pro and becoming an Olympian would enable me to do that. I also want to have a degree in international business and continue my education at a higher level, while pursuing my ventures as a woman in the world of business.
What's next for Talitha Diggs?
I always ask myself “what's next?” because I do not believe in limits and it keeps me striving for more. Due to the virus, I do not know what will happen with my senior track season at this time. But God willing, I will be able to compete at my state meet, U20 trials and break records along the way. I know for sure I will continue to work hard, have fun, and try to change the world one race at a time.
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