Former cross-country runner Dan Vassallo ’07 won the Philadelphia Marathon Nov. 21, leaving a field of 11,000 runners behind in the biggest victory of his career.
Vassallo’s time of 2:21:28 was two minutes faster than the second-place finisher, allowing him to run the last mile alone.
“When they were playing the music ‘Chariots of Fire’ at the twenty-six mile mark and calling my name out, I got a little emotional,” Vassallo told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The win came just four months after he underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia. “I was able to run eight days after the surgery,” Vassallo said, “but I felt in many ways I was back to square one.”
Rest after surgery and a careful training regimen put him back in top form quickly, he said.
The win came 10 months after a poor showing in the Houston Marathon, which he blamed on his injury and poor race strategy. On hand for the Philly victory were Katrina Gravel ’10, Vassallo’s girlfriend and an All-America runner at Colby, and his former teammates Chris Appel ’08 and Tim Worthington ’08.
News of the win triggered a deluge of congratulatory e-mails from former teammates and coaches. “I know he’s earned this success,” said Colby cross-country and track-and-field head coach Jared Beers ’01, “and it’s great to see it paying off.”