Photo by Katie Weeks ‘16
The top-ten list in the Lafayette 3000-meter steeplechase record books has a new name: Thomas Day. The Haddam, Conn. native ran 9:36.34 at the Wake Forest Open to place third and join the list. He passed Nick Groch ‘01 (9:41.14) and is now tenth.
His accomplishments are numerous on the track, but he has accolades off of it as well. Day was a member of the Patriot League Academic Honor for both cross country and track and field his freshman year.
What events do you run besides steeplechase? Which is your favorite and why?
Indoors, I run the 3000 [meter race] and at Laf – Lehigh I ran the mile. I also run the 1500 and I’m hoping to run the 5K as well this year. Out of those I really enjoy the mile; it’s fun and I love doing it.
Do you get tired of people asking you what steeplechase is?
I don’t get tired of it- the steeplechase is definitely something not everyone understands. I like explaining it to people and see their faces light up saying ‘Wow, that’s crazy.’ The easiest way to describe it is two miles of hurdles.
Who do you look up to as your inspiration for running?
I would say Steve Prefontaine. He was such a charismatic person who was so devoted to running and competing well. Besides him I look up to a bunch of the pro athletes today. They sacrifice a lot. People like Mo Farah and Cam Levins are others.
What’s your favorite track moment at Lafayette up to this date?
Definitely winning Laf – Lehigh indoors when I was a freshman last year. It was really special. Even watching other people compete. You get goosebumps as the race is about to start.
In an individual sport, how does the team play a role in a big moment like the Laf Lehigh race?
Meets like Laf – Lehigh and Patriot League, those are meets where you compete individually but it’s less about your time and more about running for the team. You aren’t thinking about hitting splits. You are thinking about specific runners you need to beat in the end.
How old were you when you first started running competitively?
I was a freshman in high school. I ran a road race in my town before that but never competitively. I actually started running to get in shape for basketball season. I ended up just loving running.
How does cross country compare to steeplechase?
The two are very similar. Cross country is longer but there are similar aspects in that when you’re on a track it’s a flat surface and you can maintain your pace easier. In cross country there’s a lot of up and down. Same thing goes for the steeplechase, getting over barriers and in the water pit is a challenge.
If you could star in any sport, what would it be?
I would be a star baseball player. That was my sport growing up as a kid. I wanted to be a Hall of Fame baseball player. I fell in love with track but baseball is one of my favorite things.
You’re a physics major. Have you applied physics to running?
I’ve read things on biomechanics. This summer I am planning on doing research in biophysics at the University of North Carolina. It was inspired by me thinking of how the biology works to make yourself better as a runner.
You’ve really achieved on the field as well as being on dean’s list for the last three semesters. When do you find time to study and train?
It’s hard. You need to sacrifice some things. The way I have always looked at is if you are going to work hard at track, then you also need to work hard in the classroom.