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More Than One Race to Run

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More Than One Race to Run

Sergio Reyes '03 wins Cincinnati marathon and completes the Boston Marathon by placing 17th.

by Sharyn Kopf— Cedarville, Ohio

August 10, 2009

This past April, Cedarville grad Sergio Reyes ’03 competed in his first Boston Marathon and placed 17th out of about 25,000 runners. Less than two weeks later, he flew to Ohio from his home in California to join former Cedarville teammates and roommates who were running in Cincinnati’s Flying Pig Marathon. Sergio decided to join the race at the last minute — and then proceeded to win.

“When I started, I had no idea if my legs would hold up for two marathons in 13 days,” he said. “It was risky. But I’m not prone to injury and decided I only had to worry about being too tired.”

As it turns out, his worries were unfounded. Sergio finished with a time of 2:20:37, 12 seconds shy of the 2006 event record and almost eight minutes ahead of this year’s second-place runner. This race was, literally, the next step in his long-term goal: to place high enough at the Olympic trials to make the U.S. team. But that’s not his ultimate aim.

“I realize now more of God’s master plan for me,” Sergio said. “He didn’t want me to be one of those premier distance runners with a full-time contract right out of college. He wanted me to be able to handle work and running along with my spiritual growth so I could glorify Him in multiple ways.”

And that’s exactly what Cedarville prepared him to do, by ingraining in him the values of discipline and balance. Learning these key attributes helped Sergio develop discipline in his work life and spiritual walk and balance that with his passion to serve God through the advancement of his sport.

As his Cedarville coaches encouraged him as an athlete, his professors strengthened his ability to be disciplined in all things. Still, he said, “No one pushed me farther or believed in me more than my dad. He encourages me to pursue my goals without limitation, constantly citing Philippians 4:13 as the means by which to do so.”

Sergio hopes to compete in all the major marathons in the U.S. His current coach helped prepare him for Boston by having him run more than 1,600 miles of solid marathon-specific training in 110 days, all without injury or sickness.

It’s been interesting for Sergio to handle the attention that has come with his recent success. For many runners, it’s a dream come true just to qualify for Boston, let alone place in the top 20. But when they hear about his subsequent win, Sergio said, “they usually flip.” Nevertheless, he sees all the interest as a good thing.

“Amidst all the phone calls, e-mails, newspaper articles, interviews, and even autographs — most of which are just plain silly in my mind — at the heart of it all is the opportunity to openly proclaim that it’s by God’s grace I can do any of this and that I do all of it for His glory. It’s extremely important that I’m not given the praise for something I’m ultimately not responsible for.”

Having graduated from Cedarville with an electrical engineering degree, Sergio currently works as a civilian flight test engineer for the Air Force Flight Test Center located at Edwards Air Force Base in California.