Kira von Ehren is adjusting to her first season at Temple University, but she’s not a typical first-year runner.
Von Ehren, a junior transfer from Germany, is older than most runners at 23. This sets the distance runner as an adaptable team leader, coach Elvis Forde said.
“We always knew that she was a talent,” coach James Snyder said. “You can see by her running and her abilities. Not only that, but when you’ve had as much competition as her, you could tell that her maturity is beyond what we would call a typical freshman here coming from a high school.”
Ahead of The American’s indoor championships on Friday in Birmingham, Alabama, von Ehren is “hitting her stride,” Snyder added.
At the Valentine Invitational on Feb. 8 in Boston, she broke her mile personal record, finishing with a time of four minutes, 55.09 seconds — nearly two seconds faster than her previous time.
She helped the Owls win their first Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship in program history and earned all-region honors for her 22nd-place finish at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional on Nov. 9.
Before picking Temple, von Ehren was in contact with Tulane and California State University, Fresno during the transfer process. She chose Temple because of the approachable coaching staff and the urban environment.
“I wanted someone who would listen to me if I ever needed to do a little less in training or make some small changes in my form or anything else,” von Ehren said. “With some coaches, you can’t do that. …Snyder and Forde have given me the chance to speak my mind when need be.”
Von Ehren’s Track Experience
Philadelphia “stuck out” to her when choosing schools, von Ehran said. She chose a city school because she wanted to to get out and do new things in a new country when she takes a break from running.
Von Ehren’s teammates look up to her because she is a very mature and experienced runner, junior mid-distance runner Millie Howard said.
Von Ehren’s maturity comes from both her age and athletic success in Germany and America, Forde said.
Von Ehren competed for three years at RWTH Aachen University in Germany. She competed in collegiate and club events around Germany including the 2017 and 2018 German Championships.
She played with the club SC Bayer 05 Uerdingen and finished 10th in the 5,000 at the 2018 German Championships. Von Ehren won the 3-x-800-meter event for Uerdingen at the under-23 championships in 2016.
“She acts a lot older and everyone on the team sees that,” Forde said. “A lot of times, we get kids here from the local Philadelphia area, and they’re all 18-19 years old. And when you’re that age, you still got a lot of learning to do.”
She set a new 3,000-meter personal record on Jan. 26.
“That was exciting because I never really ran any 3K’s in Germany,” von Ehren said. “I can’t really say how much I’ve improved running-wise, but I feel really good, and I know I can run faster than I have been earlier in the season.”
“She’s definitely got this experience about her,” Howard said. “She really knows what she’s doing out on the track.”