SRU alumni chases Olympic dreams

Published by adviser, Author: Brittany Fagan - Rocket Contributor, Date: April 24, 2014

Jeff Weiss, a 2009 Slippery Rock University Health and Physical Education graduate and former All-PSAC distance runner, qualified for the 2016 United States Olympic Team Trials this March at the 2014 Anthem Half Marathon in Virginia Beach.

As the first American finisher in the elite field and third overall, Weiss covered the 13.1 mile course in 1:04:47 averaging 4:57 per mile.

This impressive time comes in just under the Trials B standard of 1:05:00, guaranteeing him a position at the trials February 13th, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA.

The top three runners will be chosen to represent the U.S. in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeivo, Brazil. 

Weiss also qualified for the trials in 2011, making this his second visit to the Olympic Team Trial’s starting line.

“The first time I qualified I was excited, just like anyone else would be. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time before trials to turn around and get fully recovered,” Weiss said. “It was definitely an experience for me.”

In order to compete at the Olympic Trials, male runners must run a half marathon faster than 1:05:00 or a full marathon faster than 2:18:00 on a certified course between August 1, 2013 and thirty days prior to the trials.

“This time around I have plenty of time to prepare myself, which I’m very excited for,” Weiss said.

Weiss is currently decreasing his mileage, giving himself the rest that his body will need to begin training again.

Just one month prior to the race, Weiss and his good friend Patrick Reagan competed in a 10K road race in Savannah, Ga. where they both ran personal bests.

Reagan, a 2010 Slippery Rock University Exercise Science graduate and former cross country and track runner, has been Jeff’s best running buddy since their college days. Now a head cross country and track coach at Savannah Art and Design, the two were able to meet up to run another race together.

“Jeff has always been a hard worker when it comes to running,” Reagan said. “He always kept running fun, even when the training was hard. Jeff has always had the right balance between becoming a successful runner and having a life outside of it all.”

Weiss currently lives in Ravenswood, WV and works as a health and physical education teacher. 

He said that after his competitive days are over he aspires to one day be coach of the sport.

Slippery Rock Cross Country and Track and Field head coach John Papa coached Weiss at Slippery Rock and said that he remembers him just as many others do.

“Jeff was aggressive and he wasn’t afraid of training hard,” Papa said. “He was a great teammate and never flaunted his accomplishments.”

Reagan agreed with Papa’s statement and admires his friend’s work ethic and character.

“He was very modest and would always ask about your race instead of telling you about his own right away,” Reagan said. “This was unique to him and very inspiring.”

Looking back at his experience at Slippery Rock University, Weiss said that his decision to attend the small school is something that he will always be proud of.

Having the opportunity to meet a group of people, get to know them like family and train with them every day is something that no runner ever forgets.

Weiss will continue to train aggressively as he prepares for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2016.


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