Less than two years after competing in his first marathon, 2013 BC grad Lou Serafini is on his way to the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials and will compete next week in Los Angeles to earn his spot in the Rio Olympics this summer. Serafini, a four year BC standout in cross-country and track, returned to the Heights to share his journey to the Olympic Trials at a WeRunBC event Tuesday evening.
Working at a desk job in Brookline after graduation, Serafini found himself bored and missing the excitement of his BC lifestyle. When he took a weekend job at the Heartbreak Hill Running Company, he immediately found himself back in the world of running, and he didn't mind it one bit.
After rediscovering his passion, Serafini took a leap of faith and quit his day job to be a manager at Heartbreak Hill. Happy in retail and service to his fellow runners, he gradually became more interested in competing again in distance races. He adopted a new approach to training—treating it as a leisure activity and not a job. Gradually, he developed his own regime for adding mileage and distance and began to look at marathons as his next quest to compete.
Pushing heavy mileage in training, Serafini ran his first marathon in Vermont City in the Spring of 2014. He tracked an impressive two hours and 36 minutes and qualified for the 2015 Boston Marathon. In Boston, he clocked a brisk 2:27 and found himself setting his sights on earning an invitation to the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Employing dedicated aerobic work, but continuing his personal training plan, Serafini saw his times start to drop as he comfortably exceeded 100 mile training weeks. He decided to compete for an Olympic qualifying berth at either the San Diego or Philadelphia Half Marathon. Needing to run 13 grueling miles in under 65 minutes to qualify, he upped his training regimen and surrounded himself with a great team.
After failing at San Diego, he ran a time of 64 minutes and 20 seconds in the City of Brotherly Love and finished 13th behind the winner, BC assistant running coach Tim Richie. Serafini had secured his chance at the Olympic Trials.
Serafini credits his achievements to his decision of stepping back from the intense side of training and refining the joy he had as a child that drew him to run.
After a stellar high school career, Serafini set many personal bests during his first two years of running at BC. By his junior year, however, his strict training regimen began working contrary to his goals and he resented the drag on his social life and lack of balance. After he failed to improve as he envisioned during his final two seasons at BC, Serafini learned a valuable lesson and vowed he would not repeat the same mistakes when he returned to running after graduation. The result has been an Olympic turnaround.
Now, Serafini listens to his body to prevent injuries, establishes his workout approach on a day to day basis, and tries to treat each day of running as fulfilling a passion. No stranger to the BC confines, Lou can often be seen striding mightily along Commonwealth Avenue, the reservoir, or the Charles River. We wish Lou the best of luck as he tackles the Olympic Trials next week in LA.
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