By Maj. Matt Cavanaugh
West Point Marathon Team Officer Representative
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Aug. 28, 2013) — Finishing a race is a celebration. Endorphins surge and most finishers seek the best local fare they can find to swap stories and enjoy the camaraderie of a collective tough effort.
This was precisely what the West Point Marathon Club looked forward to after their National Championships this past April at the Boston Marathon. Frankly, they deserved it after a long season of training. Unfortunately, that is not what they got as soon as the finish line, hotel and city went into lockdown. There were, however, two meaningful lessons for the soon-to-be lieutenants: the nature of modern terrorism, and a reminder that running is a gift to be honored through dedicated training.
Thankfully, the start to the coming fall season kicked off on a much higher note. Eight of the team’s 16 members made the trip down to Maryland and competed in the Annapolis 10 Miler. The firsties could not attend because they were celebrating their Class Ring Weekend.
It was a warm day for a race—mid 60s at the start, low 70s around the finish, not a cloud in the sky and a bit humid. After a warmup, there was a brief meeting engagement between the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Military Academy teams—some nervous joking and eyeing up the competition.
The team ran well, considering the brief training week that followed a long summer of haphazard running opportunities due to military training and other mandatory developmental events. Class of 2015 Cadet Danny Schlich (55:45 race time) led the team with a fifth place finish overall, second in his 20-24 age group.
|Other close behind included Class of 2015 Cadets Austin Semmel (62:08), Connor Roche (62:21), Class of 2016 Cadet Marc Samland (62:41), Rex Sheikh (63:50), Nick Juliano (64:53) and Mackenzie Riford (78:24) who placed second in her 15-19 age group. Officer Representative Maj. Matt Cavanaugh (Defense & Strategic Studies/Department of Military Instruction) ran the course in 58:49, good enough for a second place finish in his 30-34 age group.
A day before the race, the cadets linked up with the U.S. Naval Academy Marathon Team to help the Annapolis Striders Running Club set up for the race (our penance for free race entry). The work was lightly distributed across what appeared to be a company-plus sized formation of midshipmen. Afterward the cadets joined the USNA team leadership for a meal. The cadets and midshipmen swapped stories about their respective challenges, like branching, restrictions, and other issues as they prepare to enter the profession of arms.
This was a great start to the season, even if it was with only half the team. Of course, the entire team is looking forward to the Service Academy Race Series—the annual competition amongst the three principal service academies—of which the next event up is the Yonkers Half Marathon in late September, quickly followed by the Fall Championship at the Chicago Marathon in mid-October. Visit the Marathon Team's website for future races at: