Mitch Klingler, '14, has continued his competitive running career since winning Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters during his time as a student at Albion College.
The difference is Klingler has made the jump in distance to running full 26.2-mile marathons.
Klingler achieved one of the biggest accomplishments of his running career last Saturday when he completed the Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minn., in 2:17.19 to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials. He has shaved 10 minutes off the time he set in his first marathon, a 2016 run in Traverse City, and 14 minutes off the time he set in Chicago in 2017.
"I thought I could hit the qualifying standard if I had the right day," said Klingler, a two-time all-MIAA first-team performer in cross country and track and former assistant coach for the Britons. "And everything went well. My training had been going well, the weather was nice, and the course was nice."
Klingler's usual distance is between three and six miles; however, he believed the marathon to be his best opportunity to advance to run against the best in the nation.
A product of Bronson High School and a kinesiology major at Albion, Klingler has been able to master the hydration and nutrition necessary to compete at a high level over a long distance.
"I was not used to taking water or nutrition while running a 5K or 10K on the track," Klingler, a salesman for Gross Stabil in Coldwater, said. "The time I achieved in Duluth shows my improvement after taking training more seriously and learning the nutrition involved in running 26.2 miles. I am burning more than 2,000 calories during a marathon and the body can't fuel itself on nothing. In previous races, I had waited too long [to take hydration and nutrition]. In Duluth I was already taking water and Gatorade in the second or third mile to avoid falling behind."
Klingler will have about eight months to recover from the run in Duluth and train for the trials, set for Feb. 29, 2020, in Atlanta. In the meantime, he will review his daily running logs and connect with Albion cross country and assistant track and field coach Derick Lawrence to prepare a plan in the lead-up to the trials.
"I'd like to give Derick all the credit I can as the one that coached me to this elite time," Klingler said. "He gave me day-by-day training in detail. He explained the importance of each and every run and that there are many other factors in life—overall happiness and sleeping and eating well—that contribute to fast running.
"I want to see how high I can place, realizing there are excellent distance runners in the U.S.," Klingler added, noting Galen Rupp won the bronze medal and Jared Ward finished sixth at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. "It will be fun to run with them and get the experience."
For the latest information on the Albion College team, follow @AlbionXCTF on Twitter and AlbionCollegeXCTF on Instagram. General athletic news can be found @GoBrits on Twitter, AlbionAthletics on Instagram and Albion College Athletics Facebook.
Joe and Julie Serra have given a $5 million leadership gift to launch a fundraising initiative to make two dreams a reality at Albion College. The first is a newly expanded fitness and student activity facility at the site of the current Dow Recreation and Wellness Center. The second is a new or renovated competition facility for the volleyball, men's basketball and women's basketball teams that currently call Kresge Gymnasium home.
The College is continuing to raise funds in support of both projects. To learn more, call 517/629-0446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.