Mark Behan realizes he’s fortunate to coach six-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star Hannah Kimball.
But, he says, it goes far beyond her running prowess.
“She is a true student-athlete and outstanding co-captain who represents what is best with young people today,” said the veteran Timberlane coach.
The UNH recruit from Atkinson is ranked 29th in a class of 365.
“I like to do well,” she said. “It makes me feel good about myself.”
There have been some trying times along the way. Her freshman and sophomore year she battled Lyme disease and last summer she was intolerant to glutens. None of that, however, compared to what she and her family had to endure in November of her freshman year. Her father, Mark Kimball, was struck by a car while running.
“It was challenging,” said Hannah. ”It was a brain injury with a slow recovery. You don’t know if they’ll get back to what they were before. It was very frustrating. He is back to who he was before. He runs now, too. It’s amazing.”
All the Kimballs run, as anyone familiar with local running scene well knows.
Mark and his brother, Dean, were New England champions at Timberlane with Mark earning All-America honors at BU, where he ran a 28:51 10,000 meters. Dean is in the UNH Hall of Fame and for 28 years held the high school New England Meet 2-mile record of 9:07.3. Hannah’s mother, Ireland native Tina Moloney Kimball, was an All-American at Providence and is in the school’s Hall of Fame.
Living in their shadows can be a daunting task but Hannah said it was never like that.
“It makes me believe in myself a little more,” said Hannah, the second oldest of four children who all run. “I’ve seen they’ve done it. They don’t put any pressure on me. They don’t care if I run a 6-minute mile or a sub-5 minute mile.”