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Erin Donohue speeds into Haddonfield Hall of Fame

Erin Donohue LiVecchi's first reaction when she found out she would be inducted into the Haddonfield Athletic Hall of Fame was surprise.

Erin Donohue LiVecchi's first reaction when she found out she would be inducted into the Haddonfield Athletic Hall of Fame was surprise.

Actually it was the timing of the announcement that caught her off guard.

"To be honest, my thought was that it was a little too soon," she said. "I am just kind of coming to grips not running full time, and I still don't feel that old."

At 33, she isn't very old, especially as Hall of Fame inductees go, and while not running full time she still has it in her to win the occasional race.

Donohue will be inducted with 10 other outstanding athletes in Haddonfield's ceremony on Saturday at the Tavistock Country Club.

Her track career was so spectacular that it included a trip to the 2008 Olympics, and she also participated in this past summer's Olympic Trials.

She has won plenty of races and even more admirers, especially among the members in her Hall of Fame class.

"When I saw I was being inducted with Erin Donohue, well, that is truly humbling," said Jeff Cusack, a former all-South Jersey linebacker from the class of 1979 and current athletic director at Glassboro High. "She was an Olympian."

Donohue is a 2001 graduate of Haddonfield and as a senior was named the Inquirer's female athlete of the year. In outdoor track alone she earned 15 state titles while competing in the 800 meters, the 1,600, 3,200 and javelin.

She was the first South Jersey athlete to win consecutive Tournament of Champions cross-country titles, and she played basketball three years and was a 1,000-point scorer.

"I can't pick out one moment in high school, but I just remember having a lot of fun," she said. "Hanging out with teammates together the bus rides, it was a great time."

Of course, the winning made it even more enjoyable, and it continued well past high school. Donohue was a seven-time all-American at the University of North Carolina.

She qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 1,500 after finishing second in the Olympic Trials. At the Olympics, Donohue finished eighth in her semifinal heat and thus didn't qualify for the finals.

"I was very proud to represent the U.S., and it was an awesome experience," she said.

Injuries didn't allow her to compete for a spot on the 2012 team, but this summer she qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 800 and 1,500 at the University of Oregon. While she didn't make the final in either event, the fact that she qualified at her age was a testament to her competitive spirit.

The age of 33 may be young for a Hall of Famer, but it's not for a runner. She said she hasn't officially retired but is now working full time in an accounting firm in Philadelphia. She still runs, just not as much.

"I like to get a five- or six-mile run in the morning," she said.

And recently she won the Hero 5K in Gloucester City, still showing her competitive spirit.

While Donohue said she may be heading into the Hall of Fame a bit early, she said she is appreciative of the honor. She estimates having competed in more than 20 countries throughout her career, but there is something about being recognized at home.

"It is a great honor to be inducted," she said. "When I was growing up I looked up to people like Abby George, Brie Cokos and Tonya Kemps."

Those three are among the 11 who will be inducted on Saturday in what is a truly impressive Hall of Fame class.

As much as Donohue looked up to those athletes, so many others did the same when she was competing. She has enjoyed a Hall of Fame career and is being honored for it. It's not a moment too soon.