Running Man

Emiily Rawdon

Senior Mike Hanlon never thought he would end up running at a Division-I college, let alone break a school record in the 5,000m.

“I only started to get good my senior year [of high school], and Colgate was one of only a few schools that were looking at me.”Hanlon said.

The twenty-two year old never intended to be a runner. Hanlon had taken a few runs with his father as a youngster, but it was only after the popular elementary school gym class fitness test that he found his niche. Hanlon started running for his school in the sixth grade. From there it was a matter of time, dedication, and pushing himself to the max to be the best runner he could be.

Hanlon started to become serious about his sport in high school. With the aid of his coach, he actively began to pursue a collegiate career.

He admits that central New York is a large change from his home on the cusp of the University of Michigan, but that it was a good change to make. Hanlon accredits two factors outside of running and academics to his Colgate decision.

“I worked at a camp with some guys that went to Colgate who told me to come,” Hanlon said. “Plus I didn’t get into Dartmouth.”

Here, track is arguably Hanlon’s life. Time outside of the twelve miles he logs daily is spent doing coursework or watching television. He watches The Office, Entourage, and what he deems “the greatest nature show you’ve ever seen”, Planet Earth.

Hanlon became interested in pursuing a History major after taking some courses early in his collegiate career. He found the reading fascinating, something that many students find hard to do. This May, his degree will reflect this bond, paired with a minor in Political Science. However, after Hanlon leaves behind the Hill, Adam and Eve, and his school records, he has very little intention of putting that degree to use. In fact, it may not see the light of day for a few years. Instead of settling down into the scheduled existence of a “real job”, Hanlon has every intention of going pro. If everything works according to plan, he will sign a contract with a company such as Adidas or Brooks. This would put him on a team of runners acting as a company franchise. In return for wearing the company’s merchandise in races, the runners are provided with housing, a small amount of money and other general needs. Many sponsored runners also opt to take on a part-time job on the side. Hanlon is excited to have such an opportunity arise in his life and is determined to give it his best shot.

Hanlon appears to be a rather easy-going guy. However, there remains a hint in his demeanor that running means so much more in this young man’s life. With a glimmer in his eyes, he admits that one of the main things that drives him to achieve is a love of competition and winning. The two have come hand-in-hand to him. This season, Hanlon broke Ray Appenheimer’s top mark in the outdoor 5,000m. Hanlon trails Appenheimer in each of the other distances that he runs. Appenheimer is among those that Hanlon looks up to. The two have spoken over the past year, exchanging e-mails and phone calls. Alongside the Colgate legend, Hanlon admires his father and his coachers from both high school and Colgate.

“My father got me running and never stopped being supportive,” Hanlon said. “My coaches have a great philosophy for training and life, which has stuck with me.”

There is no arguing that Hanlon’s success on the track has amassed a following. His Facebook wall is covered with congratulatory phrases and declarations of shock and awe. When asked which runner they look up to the most, his teammates nearly unanimously name him. And yet Colgate has yet to sing his praises at a volume we all can hear. One of Hanlon’s qualms about Colgate is the fact that not all teams are equally supported here.

“I wish we got more support from the administration. To get it you have to reach a certain level,” Hanlon said. “But once you reach that level, they make more attempts to help you out, like flying me out to Stanford.”

Hanlon’s easy-going nature allows his personality to be revealed to all that know him. He has found the niche that he adores and will follow it into the real world, which is something that all of us desire to have. The rest of us just need to find our equivalent of the twelve-mile day.