When Matt Buchhorn woke up on the morning of Sunday, April 15, he didn’t plan to win a half marathon. He simply wanted to work out with a friend.
“I was just using it as a tempo run and really had no expectations,” he says. “[I] just ran my own race and happened to win.”
Buchhorn, first-year head coach of the University of Dallas track and field and cross country teams, made a last-minute decision to participate in the Big-D Texas Half Marathon in Fair Park in Dallas, joining a friend who was in town to run the race. Buchhorn and his friend were two of approximately 4,000 participants in the event, which included marathon, half marathon and 5K races.
Competitors endured conditions that were far from ideal: a rainy morning, an overcast sky and the threat of severe weather. The weather seemed to have no effect on Buchhorn, who completed the 13.1-mile course in an official time of 1:20:45.24.
“It was a [poor] race. There was no competition,” he comments. The race was not as smooth as Buchhorn makes it sound, however. The police officer leading the way for the front runners made a wrong turn in the middle of the race. Buchhorn and another man followed him for roughly half a mile until they realized it was a mistake and backtracked to return to the right way. This extra bit of running, which was included in the official time, did nothing to faze the UD coach, who shrugged it off and kept going.
Buchhorn has no definite plans for more races, although he does admit that he is preparing for a triathlon or two in the future. His advice for anyone training for a half marathon or other long-distance race is simply to keep running.
“No, really,” he laughs. “When you’re training, long tempo runs and hill workouts are the best way to prepare. That and, of course, getting a long run in.”
Finding the time to fit a long run into a busy schedule does not seem to be a problem for the running fanatic. After his victory, he did not cool down as most runners would usually do after a race.
“I felt good,” he says, “then I went back and did the last three miles with my friend.”