(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) – Eight Carnegie Mellon University cross country and track and field alumni qualified for the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, that is scheduled for Monday, April 21, 2014.
Matt Meurer (2004), Ethan Coffey (2005), Nick End (2006), Brian Harvey (2009), Josh Finkle (2009), J.P. Allera (2011) and Justin Kurp (2011) will all be competing in the 26-mile marathon. Mark Tressler (2008) qualified for the event when he ran the Pittsburgh marathon with a time of two hours, 43 minutes and eight seconds (2:43.08), but unfortunately will not be able to participate in Boston due to injury.
Meurer qualified for the Boston Marathon when he crossed the finish line of the Pittsburgh Marathon with a time of 2:52.34. He has run in multiple marathons across the United States, but after running in Boston in 2012 he knew it was special and different and he would want to compete there again especially after the tragedy that occurred during the marathon in 2013.
"I was shocked and saddened to see so many defenseless runners and spectators attacked during the race in 2013," Meurer said. "I'm running Boston in solidarity with the city and the victims and because runners don't quit."
"The Boston Marathon is and will continue to be the best marathon in the world," Meurer stated.
Meurer is not personally raising funds for his run in the event, but he is contributing donations to Coffey's efforts.
"It will be great to have so many friends from CMU running this year, it will kind of be a mini-alumni meet," Meurer said. "We even have a friendly competition with some Washington University of St. Louis [an University Athletic Association rival] alumni."
Coffey's qualifying race was the Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham, Alabama, which he completed in 2:32.00. He is no rookie to the Boston Marathon as he competed there in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Coffey's marathon experience will be quite unique as he is running the marathon course twice with his goal being to complete it in less than six hours. Coffey is running to raise money for Be Strong Stay Strong which is a charity for some of the victims from last year's bombings. So far, he raised over $7,500.
"I think it is great that so many alums are coming back and supporting the race this year," Coffey said. "Our alumni running team is very strong and we don't get a lot of chances to all run in the same race, but I think we all realized what an important event this year's Boston Marathon will be."
End ran the 2012 Richmond Marathon with a time of 2:21.20 in order to qualify for Boston. End, like Coffey, has participated in this marathon before.
"The Boston Marathon is the most exciting marathon I have ever run," End said. "You start 26 miles from downtown and as you get closer to the city, the crowd grows and grows and after last year's tragedy, I felt I had to run it one more time."
End is looking forward to being able to run the marathon with many other Carnegie Mellon alumni.
"Many people in the running community have commented that CMU has one of the best and most active post-collegiate running groups in the country," End said. "We may have been a Division III school, but we had a lot of talented guys who love the sport and continued competing and improving after graduating."
Harvey qualified for the Boston Marathon when he crossed the finish line of the 2013 Lehigh Marathon with a time of 2:31.33. Harvey is currently a Boston resident and has been competing for the Boston Athletic Association for the last four-and-a-half years.
"Over the last year, I have transitioned from focusing on shorter races to the marathon," Harvey commented. "I decided to run Boston because I had several great training partners and was able to get plenty of experience training on the course."
Harvey is definitely excited about all of the Carnegie Mellon alumni who are participating in this year's race.
"It is really exciting to have other CMU alumni and friends in this year's race," Harvey said. "A couple of alumni from Washington University will also be running this year's race, so I know we are all hoping to finish higher than them!"
Finkle ran the San Francisco Marathon in 2:49.00 to qualify for the Boston Marathon. He is looking forward to competing in his first marathon in Boston, as he tried to sign-up in 2009, but it was already full.
"I hear it is an exciting race because the whole city takes the day off to cheer on the runners," Finkle said. "It will also be cool to have lots of runners near me during the race as other marathons I have done were smaller and I was running on my own."
Finkle will be sporting his Carnegie Mellon alumni singlet during the race.
"It's great to have so many CMU alumni running this year," Finkle said. "I am excited to catch up with some of the guys I haven't seen since I moved to California."
Kurp ran Boston last year and finished with a time of 2:44.13 which also qualified him to run the marathon this year.
"I wanted to run the Boston Marathon this year to be part of the awesome Boston Strong comeback after the tragic bombing at last year's marathon," Kurp said. "Boston is also a great city, I know a lot of people there, and the race is competitive and challenging."
Kurp, like the other alumni, is looking forward to being able to run another race with his college teammates and friends.
"I'm super pumped to run another race with the people I ran alongside in my college career," said Kurp. "I think it also says a lot about our running program - CMU XC/Track has so many people who love to run and who do very well in it, and here are a bunch of us at one of the most notable marathons in the world."
Head cross country and track and field coach Dario Donatelli is looking forward to seeing how his former student-athletes will run on such a big stage doing what they love.
"I am excited to see so many of my former runners still enjoying and excelling at the sport they love. I wish them all continued success," said Donatelli.
The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest marathon and the first wave of runners will begin at 8:50 a.m. on Monday morning, April 21 and Carnegie Mellon University will be well-represented.
For more information on the Boston Marathon please visit: http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon.aspx