On February 25, Robert Harlan '18 ran the notoriously difficult Black Mountain Marathon in Black Mountain, North Carolina.
Harlan, who earned all-conference honors in cross country in this year's fall season, conquered the marathon and came in 8th overall out of 218 runners who completed the race.
According to the Black Mountain Marathon website, runners start in the town of Black Mountain at an elevation of 2,360' and run to the Black Mountain Gap overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which has an elevation of 5,340'. They then turn and run back to their starting point.
Harlan made the marathon his training goal to end a season of distance running at Asheville School. "Our coach, Steve Brookner, said it would be a good idea if we had an end goal for the season," Harlan said. "Training was long and often difficult. If not for Coach Brookner's extensive knowledge on training and persistence, I would not have been ready."
Harlan proved he was ready, and he came in with a time of 3:49:57. The average finish time was 5:35:31.
Distance running coach Steve Brookner commends Harlan on the work it took to compete in the marathon. "Robert is an incredibly hard worker," said Brookner. "He did long, slow runs. He did short, hard runs. He did speed and interval work. He did hill work. He did walking lunges and squats for hundreds of yards at a time."
"Most people would be thrilled just to complete a flat, fast marathon, as their first. In fact, 'just finishing,' was what I told Robert his goal should be. Forget flat and fast, Robert chose to take on one of the hardest courses for his first marathon. Imagine running uphill, on trails, for 13.1 miles, and then turning around and running downhill for 13.1 miles. Instead of 'just finishing,' he beat all but seven runners up and down that mountain, and a lot of those runners were seasoned marathoners and trail racers -- an incredible accomplishment."
Harlan is proud of his accomplishment and plans to keep up his training. "The marathon was one of the most challenging things and definitely the most painful thing I have ever done, but I am happy that I did it and hope to do it again next year," he said.
Join us in congratulating Harlan on his success in his first marathon!