Students qualify for Boston Marathon

Amanda Schuster

Many people have hobbies that they are passionate about. For Kyle Brown, passion doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling he has for running. Brown is a senior business finance major who says, “Running is not who he is, but what he does.”

Brown is running in the 111th annual Boston Marathon, April 16, with a former Washburn student, Matthew Rodriguez.

Both students were involved in the marathon training class at Washburn, where they first prepared for the Lincoln Marathon. Brown and Rodriguez both set records of 3 hours and 5 minutes-the fastest time ran for males in the class. That then qualified them for the Boston Marathon.

“I am anxious and excited for the marathon because I know I have done the necessary training,” said Brown.

Running the Boston Marathon seems like a far-fetched dream for most and once was for Brown, too. Brown wasn’t always into running; he started in high school to enhance his performance in other sports.

Brown said he played basketball and football and wanted to get in better shape, so he started running about a mile a day during his sophomore year. As he ran more and became a better athlete, he decided to continue his routine in college, which led him to feel the need to compete.

Brown’s competitive side really came out when his aunt challenged him to run a marathon. In 2005, Brown did just that and ran the Detroit Marathon with a time of 3 hours and 30 minutes. His own training and discipline were keys to his success.

“It was a euphoric experience,” said Brown. “So much different from value and intricate success.”

From that point on, Brown really started taking running serious. Rodriguez and Brown were becoming great friends as well as a support system for each other.

“Matthew kept saying, ‘we can do this,'” said Brown.

So running became a new lifestyle for Brown. Throughout the day, he always stretches and eats right and all with the support of Rodriguez.

“Matthew is my mentor through everything,” said Brown.

Rodriguez, along with Brown, started running while he was in high school.

“I just did it as a sport and to meet girls,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez ran intramural cross-country in high school and won the two-mile race.

“I was really excited so I started running 10 and five kilometer races,” said Rodriguez.

Then when Rodriguez came to Washburn, he took the marathon training class and started running consistently.

Combining his experience with Brown’s talent, Rodriguez knew they were both great at the sport.

“He’s [Brown] got a lot of natural ability he hasn’t tapped into yet,” said Rodriguez. “He could be the best in the region, the more he realizes that.”

Another person who has contributed to Brown and Rodriguez’s success is Dave Halfarty. Halfarty is an active runner in the Topeka community who promotes the Run for Life 10-mile race.

“I would argue that he is the best runner in the Midwest,” said Brown.

Brown also said that Halfarty has really taken Matthew and him under his wing. Every Tuesday and Thursday he takes them through workouts and training.

“Without him, there is no way I would have been able to prepare for Boston,” said Brown.

While Halfarty is one of Brown’s main supporters, so is his boss. Brown and Rodriguez both work at the Great Plains Running Company, which is ideal for them and their hobby. Since it isn’t cheap for the runners to attend the Boston Marathon, Willie Lambert, owner of the store has sponsored them for the $95 entry fee.

“They [Brown and Rodriguez] take such great care of our customers, we wanted to take care of them,” said Lambert. “They are fun, outgoing and great for customers.”

Brown and Rodriguez helped Lambert open the store last year.

“They are totally out of the box and exactly the type of people we were looking for when opening the store,” said Lambert.

As far as costs for lodging, travel and food, Brown and Rodriguez plan to drive to Boston and stay with Rodriguez’s brother.

“I am really thankful for working at the store and having its support,” said Brown.

With their great passion for the sport, stopping after the Boston Marathon is out of the question. Brown plans to run the marathon in 2 hours and 54 minutes or faster, surpassing his Lincoln Marathon time. He also plans to run in the New York City Marathon next.

“We run because we enjoy running,” said Rodriguez. “We’re beyond being addicted to it.”