Sophomore Mitchell Marlow has some big shoes to fill.
Marlow, the youngest of three collegiate runners in his family, is one of the newest additions to SUNY Plattsburgh’s men’s cross-country team, having placed first in the team’s timed trial with 16 minutes and 23 seconds over 3.1 miles.
Marlow completed his freshman year at Utica College, where he also ran cross-country, but chose to return closer to his roots in Malone, NY, less than an hour from campus.
“It made things a lot easier for my parents. And I’ve always liked this school, so I’m here to give it a shot,” Marlow said.
To Coach Andrew Krug, Marlow’s joining the team was a long time coming.
“I’m not really surprised he led the way [in the trial],” Coach Andrew Krug said of the business major, who the university’s coaches had scouted since high school. “We’re excited to have him on board as a Cardinal.”
The timed trial is a way for Krug to gauge fitness levels, and determine where athletes best fit in on the team, and Marlow excels at speed.
“When he goes to track [and field] in the spring, he’ll specialize in the 800- and 1,500-meter dashes, as well as the mile,” Krug said.
Differences between coaching strategies have made for some hurdles to overcome, but both Krug and Marlow remain excited.
“There’s more distance involved with Plattsburgh’s training, while there’s more speed with Utica’s,” Marlow said. “I’m putting a lot more miles on my legs than I’m used to.”
When he isn’t on his feet, Marlow prefers to spend his time relaxing. Two-hour practices 6 days a week keep him busy enough, so downtime is a luxury he savors.
“We’re supposed to be swimming on our day off. We have a pool workout to do,” he said on one of those off-days, though on this one, he admits he hasn’t got there yet. “I probably will eventually…maybe.”
“When I’m not running or studying, I’m usually just sleeping,” he said, laughing.
It took some time, but Marlow thinks he’s found the delicate balance between athletics and academics.
“My first semester was difficult, but I’ve got to experience college for a little bit. Once you figure it out, it’s much easier.”
Growing up, he watched his two older brothers, now graduated, perform the same balancing act while they spent 10 years each running competitively and getting through school.
“He didn’t have a lot of opportunity to beat us because of his age. Although, eventually he ran as fast as us when he got older,” said 22-year-old Morgan Marlow, twin to Rourk Marlow, both 3 years older than Mitchell. “Watching him compete and follow in our footsteps of loving the sport was great to watch.”
Despite having three players of a demanding, highly-competitive sport under one roof, rarely was there ever conflict or rivalry.
“Not to say that we didn’t enjoy beating each other, but we made sure to check how the others did after the race,” the UMass Amherst graduate said. “There were plenty of times in high school where one of us would have a bad race, but we were content because one of the others may have run a personal best.”
“If anything, the subject always gave us something we could talk about. At home, my parents would watch us talk about the running world for hours on end,” Morgan said.
Mitchell believes he’ll continue to run after graduation, but not at the level he’s at now. With this year’s season hardly underway, Marlow has plenty of time to enjoy it and plenty of ground to cover.
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