Braden River High senior Matt McFall completed his first marathon, the Walt Disney World Marathon, Jan. 13.
The 18-year-old, who runs cross-country and track for the Pirates, finished the 26.2-mile race in 3:02.48. McFall finished second out all of the 18-year-old competitors and fifth overall in his age group (18 to 24).
McFall had previously run seven half marathons, but the thought of running a full marathon was something McFall always had in the back of his mind.
“Half marathons weren’t challenging enough,” McFall says. “I wanted the challenge (of a marathon). In the running world, the marathon is the ultimate test of endurance.”
McFall began running his freshman year after deciding that cross-country would be one of the easier sports in which to participate. Since then, he has set the school record in the 1-mile and 2-mile, and this past cross-country season he set a new school record in the 5K, with a time of 17:14.
“The school record had always been a goal of mine, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it,” McFall says. “I wanted to be able to leave a legacy behind.”
This spring, McFall is focused on dropping his time on the track; continuing his running career at the collegiate level; and eventually making the Olympic Trials for the marathon.
“The Disney Marathon was a stepping stone for a larger goal in the future,” McFall says.
What did you enjoy most about your first marathon?
Definitely the finish. I’ve never been happier to stop running.
Would you ever consider running another marathon?
Yes, but I have to forget about the experience first. I have to forget about the pain, so maybe after college.
Do you prefer cross-country or track?
Cross-country. It’s more of a team aspect, and it’s a longer distance. There are more challenges because it’s a larger race. You have to go a lot faster, and you have to deal with the elements of the landscape.