Thursday, May 03, 2012

Catching up with Loyola HS runner, Charlie Marquardt...

The following interview was completed by David Taylor of
Loyola HS has been one of the best cross country programs in the state of California in the 2000s.  Since 2002, the team has compiled 5 state XC championships (4 in Div. II and 1 in Div. I), 1 second place finish this past season as well as 5 individual championships (2 by Mark Matusak and 3 by Elias Gedyon).  They currently hold the 10th fastest team average in the nation in the 5 x 3200 at 9:27.07.  Today we chat with their fastest 3200m. runner, senior Charlie Marquardt (on the right in the picture ahead of teammate Andrew Bland). At the recently completed Mt. SAC relays, Charlie finished in 2nd. place in the 3200m. with a lifetime best time of 9:09.82.  He was also a key member on the cross country team the past two seasons as they brought home two more plaques to add to their trophy case.  

1. Three words that describe you and why?
Tall, dark, and handsome.  But seriously:
Dedicated - Most of the runners on my team agree that I’m beyond dedicated to the sport.  I eat, drink, breathe, and poop running.  I’m always looking to see how everyone did at their races over the weekend and thinking about what it’s going to take to beat them or to hit a certain goal.  If I’m on the internet, there's a 100% chance I have a tab with dyestat or milesplit open.  Sometimes I think my dedication to running might be a bit too much, but I believe you gotta love what you do.
Hard-working - The main reason I am where I am today is hard work.  My first ever race during freshman year track was a 2:52 800 after a couple weeks of training.  I was actually falling behind on the warmup runs during that first month.  I was pretty slow.  Actually, I was REALLY slow.  But I saw runners like Elias Gedyon on my team, and I dreamed of being even half as fast as them some day.  I knew I had a good coach (5 time state champions in XC) so If I just followed the workouts, worked hard, and gave 100% effort every day, I knew I would get there.  It was a slow process, but it’s finally paying off.
Helpful - I always love to help out other runners.  Whether it’s giving them splits during races or racing strategy advice before, I know it really helps out a lot.  When I was a freshman, one of our seniors was really kind and helpful to me and I really appreciated it.  I don’t think I would be where I am today without his help.  I see lots of talent on some of our younger runners, and I really want them to grow to be strong, fast runners.  I know it’s going to be hard for them to get there by themselves, so wherever I can help, I will.

2. What does Passion mean to you? How does it apply to running and perhaps succeeding in life?
First of all, Passion is the name of my cat, so I guess that’s the first thing Passion means to me.  Secondly, in order to be passionate about something, you have to love it  with all of your heart and be totally dedicated to it.  I guess I would say that passion would be nearly synonymous with my earlier definition of dedication, except instead of always being dedicated to reach a goal, one would be dedicated to just the pursuit of bettering himself in the sport for his own sake and for enjoyment’s sake.

3. How do you want to be remembered as a runner? An all-time great, a record breaker, or one of many? An example of something greater?
Records are meant to be broken, and they still will long after I’m gone, so I would not like to be remembered merely as something that once was. I'm not nearing the end of my career in any way so I don’t really like to think of how I want to remembered, I have a huge college career ahead of me, and hopefully a bit of a Pro one too, if I work hard enough.  I want to see what I can do NOW before I have to start thinking about how I should look back on it LATER.

4. If you met an 8th grader transitioning into high school who dreamt of being a successful distance runner, what words of advice would you give to him?
If at first you don’t succeed, lower your standards.  And I don’t mean that in a bad way at all.  It’s great to set lofty goals and everything, but you have to remember to start off with baby steps.  Hitting a reasonable goal every meet gives you way more of a mental boost than striving for a big goal at the end of the season and getting discouraged as time starts to run out.  Also, you haver to remember to never give up, let yourself down, but always run around, but don’t desert your goals.  Never cry, never say goodbye, never tell a lie to yourself, and most importantly never hurt yourself.

5. Humility in all things... what does that phrase mean to you?
Just run, and be thankful that you ran how you ran.  I know that everybody gets that insane mental high when they win a race or run a great time, and its important to not let it get the better of you.  Instead of preaching it to everyone you meet, use it as fuel and motivation for your next race

6. Looking back, what has been the biggest challenge in your success as a did you overcome it?
I’d say my biggest challenge was trying not to lose hope.  My freshman year, practices were brutal and I didn’t get home until very late because I had to take a bus and a train home from school.  At times, I thought “Why am I still doing this?  My life would be so much easier without all these practices.”  But I knew I had to stay committed because I thought I had potential.  I wanted to be one of those top runners really badly, and I tried really hard every day, but the progress was slow.  It took 2 years for me to finally lock down my varsity spot, but when I finally did, it was so sweet.

7. What other sports have you played besides cross country and track and field?
I used to play a lot of quiddich and I did underwater basket weaving a few times.  I played a little soccer here and there like most kids, but I wasn’t particularly good at it.  My primary positions were goalkeeper and left bench.

8. How did you get your start in running?
I was always okay at running the mile in middle school, though I wouldn’t really consider myself “good” or “talented.”  Compared to what most guys and even some girls run today at the middle school level, I wasn’t anything special at all.  I decided I needed an extracurricular the second semester of my freshman year, so I went out for track, and I had a lot of fun and made a lot of new friends.  My first race was a 2:52 800, and I brought it down to 2:24 by the end of the season.

9. What were some of your highlights from your high school career so far?
The team winning state and going to NXN in 2010 was by far my favorite moment in my high school career.  I ran out of my mind at state for a huge PR (32 seconds) and the trip up to NXN was one of the best experiences of my life, period.  It was so much fun at the Nike Campus and simply amazing to be racing against such great teams and individuals.

10. What is your favorite racing moment thus far?
I’d have to say my race at State for XC in 2010 was definitely my favorite racing moment.  We were underdogs going into the race, but we knew we had the potential to beat out rivals.  Going into the last 800, I was right behind 2 of the rival runners, and I heard them saying “We have to go now!” “No, not yet.”  I saw my chance, took it, and dropped one of the hardest kicks I have ever had.  I crossed the line in a huge PR, and we ended up winning the race and qualifying for NXN.  The moment when I saw my coach walking back from the results tent with a big smile on his face was one of the favorite moments of my life.

11. Tell us a little about your family and how they has helped you develop during your years in high school.
My dad has always been really supportive of me.  He used to run marathons for fun when he was younger.  He originally set out to run 100 marathons with his friend, but he had to stop running early on because of injuries.  When I started running, he followed me and the team very closely.  He knew everyone’s PRs and what they ran most recently.  It’s kind of become a joke on the team.  One of my former teammates once said “If I ever forget my social security number, I’ll just call up Charlie’s dad!”  He has definitely been with me every step of the way, going to every meet he can, even if it means a 2 hour drive both ways.  I really appreciate him being there, I can always hear him cheering.  He’s very loud.  My mom and sister also come to a lot of my meets, and I’m really thankful for that too.

12. 9:09...what was that moment like, what are your goals?
I was staying in the front group the whole race and I came by the 1600 in 4:35, right on my goal pace of 9:10.  I was working pretty hard to stay with the front group, and I was in 6th going into the final lap and slightly falling off.  I knew I was still within kicking distance, but I didn’t want to kick too early.  With 200 to go I just brought up my turnover and caught and passed 2nd through 5th on the curve (1st was way ahead of everybody).  I was actually kicking REALLY hard and the last 100 hurt like hell!  But I knew that I couldn’t stop kicking, so I held on to second and actually put 3 seconds on 3rd place over the last 100m.  My last lap was actually a 60.  I had no idea where that came from, but I was incredibly happy with the race I ran and the fact that I had progressed from 10:14 in dead last in the same race my sophomore year, to 9:09 for 2nd place my senior year.  My goals for the rest of the year are to make it to State in the 3200, Break 9:00, and win New Balance Outdoor Nationals in the 4xMile.

13. Favorite distance in track? Favorite run? Favorite invitational? Favorite opponent(s)? Favorite track workouts? Favorite run?
3200 for sure.  I’ve had success in the 1600, but I’ve always been a 2-miler at heart.  My favorite run has to be any run in the rain.  I love running in the rain, and living in southern California, we don’t get too much rain.  So especially in the off season when I get to run however far I want, however fast I want, wherever I want, I always make sure to get in a nice rain-run.  My favorite invitational has to be the Mt. SAC Relays (track) because I’ve PR’d there every year I’ve ran.  My favorite opponent is my rival Aaron (when he doesn’t drop out or scratch ;).  My favorite track workout had to be that one time we played duck-duck-goose, but on a more regular basis, even though the rest of the team hates it, is 10x(400-200) at 65 for 400s and 28 for 200s.  There isn’t a lot of recovery, and the workout kicks my butt every time, but It’s an awesome feeling when you cross the line the final time and you can finally stop moving and catch your breath, then rush into the locker room before you’re late for class!

14. What races are you most looking forward to as you look ahead to the rest of your track and field season?
I look forward to seeing if I can make it to State in the 3200, and then the New Balance Outdoor Nationals 4xMile.  We won last year (even though I wasn’t on the team) and we currently have the leading time in the nation in the 4x1600.  I really think we have a good chance of repeating, but there’s lots of good competition this year, probably some of the best competition there’s ever been.  It’s definitely the year of the 4xMile.

15. Running ultimately will not define who you are, how would you like to be defined?
I’d like to see my name defined in the dictionary, that’d be pretty cool.  But really, I would just like to be remembered as a hard-working, honest guy.  I believe those are the two traits that I just naturally embody, and I think they are two of the most important for succeeding in life.  You won’t get far if you don’t work hard, and everybody likes an honest man.

16. Favorite running movie, running song, and favorite runner?
I haven't seen very many running movies, but my favorite running/racing movie is either Forrest Gump or Talladega Nights.  I don’t actually have a favorite running song, or just a normal favorite song, for that matter, but my pump up playlist consists of a lot of Rage Against the Machine and Odd Future (Tyler, The Creator).  My favorite runner is either Dave Wottle because of his awesome 800 race for Olympic gold in 1972 (and I dig the hat) or David Torrence, a graduate of my high school who has been running some great races in recent years and is preparing for the Olympic Trials in the 1500m.

P.S. Thanks so much for this opportunity!


Matt Stewart said...

Charles Marquardt, a real class act.

Anonymous said...

what a perfect interview! funny, serious, and humble all at the same time. charlie sounds like a guy i want to meet someday

Andrew Bland said...

what a tool

Anonymous said...

he poops running

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