The Latest Strides


Olympic Dreams on the Line at the Eau Claire Marathon

by Mikaela Wild

In true runner's fashion, David Luy misses my initial call for our scheduled interview because his run lasted longer than expected. David Luy, if you're not familiar, is the two -time Eau Claire Marathon champion in the men's marathon division. David has qualified for the Boston marathon with both of his Eau Claire Marathon times and plans to run again this year. He's taken some time out of his busy training schedule to discuss the Eau Claire Marathon with me, and specifically what he loves about it. David is soft-spoken throughout our phone interview, but it soon becomes abundantly clear - this man loves to run. He's enjoyed running ever since he was a little kid.

He tells me about loving to play soccer and that it wasn't until the other kid's foot skills improved (and he wasn't able to beat them with raw speed), that he realized his love for soccer was rooted in his love for running. David's outlook on running is rather philosophical, as he puts it simply, "humans were made to run." David's love for the sport is derived from the endurance, discipline, and structure that it requires. He believes that his ability to maintain the strict requirements that training for a marathon entails shows that he is not a slave to his desires. He also notes the simplicity of the sport - all you need to partake are a pair of shoes. This outlook and his unwavering drive make it easy to understand why he's been so successful throughout his running career.

David's career has taken many twists and turns as his goals and desires have evolved. In high school, David ran the 800-meter race but was unable to pursue running at the Division I level at UW - Madison. However, he still had a passion for running in college and found that, with his newfound maturity, he had an easier time committing to training. In 2012, David ran his first marathon in Chicago and described the experience as "revitalizing." At this time, he was also participating in Ironman races.

His performances in these races were outstanding and allowed him to qualify for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. However, David was unable to place where he wanted to due to, in his own words, struggling to figure out the endurance and nutritional balance that competing at such a high level required. He also felt that continuing to compete at that level would burn him out sooner than he would like. David appears to have lost no sleep about this decision and assures me that he's not given up on the Ironman competition entirely and has plans to return after he's achieved his marathon goals. It's understandable that David has decided to set his focus on one endurance sport at a time, because his new goal may be his most ambitious.

In his third Eau Claire Marathon appearance, David's goal is to qualify for the Olympic trials. The Olympic trials require him to run a 2:19 marathon to qualify at the B Standard level. To draw a comparison, David's previous PR is 2:25. While shaving six minutes may seem easy, this is no small feat in the world of marathons. David has been rigorously training all year in hopes of achieving this goal come May. His training, by his own standards (which are astronomically high), has been going well. He has come in first place in a few local races and is hoping for good weather when he comes to Eau Claire in May.

When I asked him what his favorite part of the Eau Claire Marathon is, he is quick to describe the race course. David tells me that running the Eau Claire reminds him of running up in Northern Wisconsin, where you're surrounded by pine trees and unpaved roads. The Eau Claire Marathon course takes runners around Carson Park, along the Chippewa River, and through the UW–Eau Claire campus. The route provides runners with a plethora of naturistic views, along with views of the bustling city—so it's no shock that David adores it. David also gushes about how nice the community of Eau Claire and the staff that host the marathon are. He tells me, "everyone in Eau Claire is just so nice."

David may not be able to predict the weather conditions for the Eau Claire Marathon, but he can surely count on the nice people of Eau Claire that will be helping with the race and supporting the runners. As the Eau Claire Marathon quickly approaches us, make sure you show off that Eau Claire niceness and get out to support runners like David! Who knows? We might just be seeing him in the 2020 Summer Olympics!

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