Miles from Where He Started

Kelly Pien, Opinion Editor

Senior Chris Garvey finished the Walnut Creek Half Marathon on December 14 in 2nd place overall (out of 1129 people) and 1st place in his age division. He ran the 13.1 miles in 1:18:32.

Garvey, who is also on the cross country and track teams, said he “wanted to try something new besides cross country and track.”

Garvey started running competitively 2 years ago, as a sophomore.

Garvey’s friend and teammate Omid Boozarpour said Garvey has changed “quite a bit” since then. Boozarpour added, “Personality-wise, he’s definitely branched out and athletically, he’s come a long way from where he started.”

Garvey was not the fastest runner on the team when he first joined cross country. “I would say that he’s tall, so he had some athletic ability at the start, but running wasn’t something he was specifically good at,” Boozarpour said.

Campolindo’s cross country and track coach Chuck Woolridge shared a similar sentiment. “If you go back to the 1st year and the 1st race, he ran 15 minutes and 18 seconds for 2 miles and was the 11th fastest rookie. There were 39 other people on the boys’ team who ran faster than he did, and there were even 6 girls who ran faster than him.” That year Garvey placed 43rd at the DFAL cross country championships in the frosh-soph division. Out of all the Campolindo competitors in that race, Garvey was 17th.

Woolridge pegs Garvey’s turning point at the summer between his sophomore year of track season and his junior year of cross country. “I think when he finished his sophomore track season he made a commitment to the lifestyle that we promote. And that’s when he started coming to these summer conditioning sessions as well as training on his own,” Woolridge said.

At the cross country DFAL championships in his junior season, Garvey placed 17th overall. That same year, Garvey also ran the Walnut Creek Half Marathon for the first time. He came in 45th place with a time of 1:31:49, according to the half marathon’s website.

In the fall of 2013, Garvey won the JV race at the DFAL cross country championships. According to Woolridge, Garvey also ran faster than “several of his teammates who had finished far ahead of him in that first race 2 years earlier.”

For his senior year accomplishments Garvey shared the “Most Valuable” award for the JV cross country team with Sam Lee.

Garvey decided to try the half marathon again this past December because he “thought it would be interesting to see how much I improved.” He did not do any special training for the half-marathon outside of cross country. Garvey’s goal for this year was to place in the top 25. “I wasn’t really expecting much,” he said.

“It was a 13 minute PR [personal record], so I ran each mile a minute faster than last year,” Garvey said.

Woolridge and Boozarpour both confirmed that Garvey is a hard worker.

“Chris Garvey is dedicated 24 hours a day to being a distance runner,” Woolridge said.

“He sometimes almost works too hard. Sometimes we [the other juniors and seniors on the cross country team] have to tell him to relax a little,” Boozarpour said.

Garvey enjoys running. “I like the challenge of it. It’s not easy. You get what you put into it,” Garvey said. He prefers longer over shorter distance races because “there’s more time to push yourself to the limit.”

In addition to Garvey’s improvement in speed, Woolridge believes Garvey has changed socially. “And now he has taken on a leadership role, has been vital in mentoring younger athletes, and has, at times, asserted himself by speaking to the whole team about his experience and appears to have real control over his life and in all of the decisions he makes,” Woolridge said.

According to Woolridge, Garvey was reticent when he joined the team. “He was very shy,” Woolridge said. “It was hard to get even a word out of him.”

Garvey and Boozarpour were in the same preschool group, so Boozarpour has known Garvey since before kindergarten. Boozarpour said, “In general, he’s a pretty quiet guy, but he cares a lot about running.” Boozarpour thinks the change is due to Garvey running and being around the people on the team.

Garvey is considering running the San Francisco Marathon this summer.

He believes the marathon will also help improve his track performance. “I think it’ll just give me more confidence that I can do well in track.”