Prior to Saturday's U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon in Los Angeles we caught up with Jacob Kildoo, 22, of South Bend, Ind. to learn more about his running, how he felt when he learned he had qualified for the Trials, and his life beyond running; including, who he would most like to have lunch with, his role model, and his favorite athlete.
This will Jacob’s first Olympic Trials. He is the second youngest entrant in the men’s race.
So let's get to know Jacob a bit better...
I started running pretty early on, but never competitively until I was in 7th grade and joined cross country. I remember being in 6th grade, volunteering to go outside to run the "make-up mile" for the President's Fitness Test (even though I had already run the mile in gym class) and slogging a 6:20 mile in jeans, just for the heck of it. I never trained in those days, but I think those gym class miles are what first ignited the spark. I was a pretty competitive kid.
I qualified at the 2015 Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon. I ran 1:04:56 to just get under the 1:05:00 qualifying standard.
Honestly, I wasn't even sure I had it with 200 meters to go. I was clopping along pretty lifelessly for the last 5 miles, just praying that I wouldn't go too far over 5 minute pace to miss the standard. I remember hitting the 5k to go mark and doing the math in my head. I distinctly remember thinking Dang, there's no way I can run 15:27 right now. Somehow I managed to stay just slightly above pace, despite being all along on the windiest part of the course. Still, I wasn't sure if I had it. I recall turning the corner onto the finishing stretch and stealing a glance at my watch. It read "1:04:30." Then I looked up at how far the finish was and it just seemed impossibly far to make it there in 30 seconds. I didn't know I had it until I crossed the finish line and looked down at my watch.
Grove City Area High School (2011) Grove City, Penn.
University of Notre Dame (2015)
While at ND I made two U.S. Junior teams as a freshman--one in cross country, to go the the 2012 NACAC meet in Trinidad and Tobago, and another in the 10000m in track, to go to the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships. I also finished 6th at the Big East Outdoor 10000m that year. I finished 4th at the Big East Indoor 5000m as a sophomore, and later that spring ran one of the most fun races of my life at the Stanford Invitational 10000m, alongside my teammate and good friend Martin Grady (we both threw up some big PR's and had a blast doing it, thanks to Diego Estrada's gracious pacing). My junior year was terrible on the whole, but then my senior year I ran PR's from 3k to 10k on the track and finished 8th in a strong ACC Outdoor 10000m field. I also made the NCAA East Regional meet in the 10000m my sophomore, junior, and senior years.
Brooks I.D. Elite
Matt Sparks, Notre Dame.
This is my first time.
At the moment, I'm working in Notre Dame's Academic Services for Student Athletes office. I plan to continue my education in grad school this coming fall, though.
I studied Arabic and philosophy in school, and have spent time studying abroad in Oman. My next big goal is to reach complete fluency in Arabic.
Long runs, no doubt. I love just getting out there and settling into that long, grinding kind of pace. It's some invigorating stuff. You can just feel in your body that it's going to make you fitter. That and long tempos. Anything 6 miles and up. Nothing fast, I hate that crap.
I'm sure there are some amazing places out there, but there's just something so charming about the rolling, remote country roads in my hometown in western Pennsylvania. The Appalachian foothills plus all of the forested areas make it a beautiful place to run. Even though there are houses mostly everywhere, it can feel hauntingly remote in some areas. There's really nothing better than feeling like you're the only one out there, going up against the world.
I could write a book about this, so I'm just going to keep it simple and say beer.
C.S. Lewis (let's pretend he's alive)
Gandalf to dinner (let's also pretend he's alive, but in a different way)
I know it's probably strange since he's younger than I am, but I really want to be more like my brother Noah. He's just such a good person. He'd never sell out for something he doesn't believe in, he's fiercely and unapologetically his own person, and he's as loyal of a friend and brother as you can imagine. The world needs more people like that.
That's a really tough decision. I really like Nick Willis a lot. He just seems like such a nice guy, very down to earth. John Walker is also awesome--he did some manly workouts back in the day. There's just something about those New Zealand dudes.
Enjoy the experience and make my family and friends proud.