BOSTON, Mass. - In the midst of his outdoor track & field season, Catholic University junior Cornelius Deep trained for and completed the renowned Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15.
Deep ran the 26.2 miles in 2:58.26, keeping an astounding 6:49 mile pace. After training for several months, the Utica, N.Y., native saw all his hard work pay off.
"Being able to run one of the most prestigious marathons in world with so many elite runners was a dream come true," Deep said.
The story behind Deep's mission to complete his goal is one aided by the Catholic Cross Country and Track & Field teams, including assistant coach Ian Hankins. Deep did not run for either of the teams previous to his junior season, but he approached Hankins over the summer seeking training help.
Deep qualified for the Boston Marathon after he won the Race the Lake Marathon in Cooperstown, N.Y. on June 8, 2018. Looking for help to set a personal record in the Boston marathon, Deep came to Hankins for advice. The two came up with a compromise - Hankins would help with the training and Deep would compete on the cross country and track & field teams.
So Deep joined the team for his junior year, contributing a 16th overall finish in the Landmark Conference Cross Country Championships with a time of 27:18.54. He is currently in his first outdoor track spring season competing as a distance runner for Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Steve Rahn.
In the Boston Marathon, Deep fell just 1:53 short of a personal record on a course that is known to be extremely difficult for runners to set personal bests. Just four of his 26 miles took more than seven minutes. His time of 2:58.26 has already qualified him for the 2020 Boston Marathon.
"Cornelius has done an amazing job over the past eight months with the culmination of his training showing in his performance Monday at the 123rd running of the Boston Marathon," Rahn said. "We are very proud of Cornelius and look forward to his continued success as we wrap up the outdoor season."
The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon, first held in 1897. With about 30,000 registered participants each year, it is one of the world's most well-known racing events. Open to runners 18 or older from any nation, there are some serious qualifications standards to participate.
To qualify, a runner must first complete a standard marathon course certified by a national governing body affiliated with the International Association of Athletics Federations. Male runners between the age of 18-34 must complete a marathon in under three hours to qualify. Deep's completion of the Race the Lake Marathon in 2:56:33 made it possible to run in Boston.
Hankins commented that the feat was just as uncommon as it was impressive.
"It is definitely unique to have an athlete run a marathon in the middle of track season, but this is what Division III athletics is all about," Hankins said. "It helps give student-athletes unique opportunities to accomplish the unthinkable."