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Penn College Sophomore Qualifies for ’08 Boston Marathon

Jeffrey J. FahertyWhen Pennsylvania College of Technology sophomore Jeffrey J. Faherty entered his first marathon race in Harrisburg on Nov. 11, he didn’t know what to expect and he was surprised with the result.

Faherty, a landscape/nursery technology student from Sussex, N.J., not only finished the 26.2-mile race, he won his 19-under age group with a time of 3 hours, 7 minutes and 46 seconds, which qualified him for next year’s 112th Boston Marathon. A 3:10:59 is needed to qualify for Boston.

“I was pretty much shocked that I was able to qualify for it on my first attempt because a marathon is such a hard thing to do,” Faherty said.

“I honestly did not know what to expect out of myself and to have that kind of result I was basically just shocked and incredibly happy,” the 19-year-old continued.

Faherty began running competitively when he was a junior at High Point High School in Sussex. He continued with the Penn College men’s cross country team during both his freshman and sophomore years.

“I began running after getting cut from the (high school) soccer team. The training for soccer was very intense, and, after going through that, I really did not want to sit around and do nothing,” Faherty recalled.

“The coaches told those of us that got cut that the cross country team was looking for members, so that was where I went. And, quite frankly, I couldn’t be more happy with the results because I have done a lot more with running than I probably would have with soccer,” he continued.

In cross country, where most races are about 5 miles long, his training regimen consists of distances up to 10 miles. For the Harrisburg event, he ran one 20-miler and two 14-milers.

“I had planned on running a marathon within the next two years just to say I ran a marathon. I figured now is basically the best time because I’m in shape after the (cross country) season,” Faherty said.

He entered the Harrisburg race with Penn College teammates Michael D.Womelsdorf of Allentown and Tristan J. Mummert of Red Lion.

“I figured I would be happy (at Harrisburg) with 3 hours and 30 minutes. Tristan and I ran together for the first 10 miles and our splits were really good.

“We had thought about giving qualifying for Boston a shot, but we didn’t know how well we would do toward the end. After our splits started being really good, we thought maybe we could do it. Tristan ended up dying a little bit (at the end), but I was able to qualify for Boston,” Faherty said.

Looking ahead to April 21 and his date in Boston for the sport’s premiere event, Faherty said, “I plan on going up there for the experience and to be able to say I ran in the Boston Marathon.”

He has another goal, too; returning to Harrisburg next year and breaking the 3-hour barrier.

“I keep running to keep healthy. Also, it is a good sport that anyone can enjoy,” Faherty said.

“I like the fact that, in the larger races, you can find people in their 50s, 60s and even 70s that can still keep up a fast pace and get great times for their age. The sportsmanship is also another benefit “¦ It’s just a great sport,” he said.

Faherty followed in the footsteps of his older sister, Christine L., in choosing Penn College to continue his education. Christine is a senior in culinary arts technology.

“Ilooked into it (the college) and, seeing all the different majors, I knew if I chose one that I did not like, I could find another that suited me, which I did. The fact that Penn College also had a cross country team was an added benefit,” he added.

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