Nick Reed’s passion for running has taken him places. Most recently, it took the 2016 graduate and Lancer cross country standout to the finish line of one of the largest and most prestigious races in the world—the Boston Marathon—where he placed 141st overall and ahead of 99 percent of the field.
Reed added the title of Boston Marathon finisher to his growing list of racing accolades on April 15, when he took part in the historic 26.2-mile race, now in its 122nd year. Each year the marathon draws more than 30,000 runners from around the world to the historic city.
“Once you get out on the course, it’s one of the most surreal experiences,” he said. “There are crowds the whole way cheering you on. It’s one of the greatest atmospheres. The crowds, no matter where you were—in the beginning, middle and toward the end—they’re just amazing. There’s nothing I’ve ever run that’s anything close to that.”
For Reed, just qualifying for “The Boston” and enjoying the experience would have been reward enough, but he made sure he got a lot more out of the trip than another bib to decorate his wall. In addition to finishing in the top 150 runners, he was the fourth-fastest of the 493 runners hailing from Virginia, clocking a per-mile pace of 5:49. His final time was 2:32.13, a personal best.
'Once you get out on the [Boston Marathon] course, it’s one of the most surreal experiences.’NICK REED ’16
Another Lancer cross country runner was pounding the Boston pavement along with Reed: all-time women’s great Alisha Royal Ebert ’13, who placed 3,987th overall and 378th among all female runners.
Reed, who is currently the cross country and track coach at his high school alma mater, Robinson Secondary High School in Fairfax, broke Longwood’s 10K record and still remains in the top five on nearly every one of the university’s all-time lists. In the three years since graduating from Longwood, however, he has evolved from a “road racer” specializing in 5K and 10K distances to a full-fledged marathoner.
In his never-ending pursuit of those ever-extending finish lines, Reed has excelled every step of the way. He was a fixture at the front of the pack in the local 5K and 10Ks he ran near his hometown. Then he advanced to his first half-marathon in 2017 and placed second at the Fredericksburg Historic Half.
It was that finish that got his wheels turning—or rather, kept his legs churning. “I just started thinking, ‘Hey, I like longer stuff,’” he said. “So let’s just try a marathon.”
Now Reed has three marathons under his belt, and, at 26, he’s still hitting his stride. His times have improved with each race, and he’s already racked up a collection of top-10 finishes and age-division victories.
So what’s next? Another Boston? A 50-mile ultra-marathon? A 100-miler?
“A 100-miler may be off in the distance right now,” he said, only half-joking. “Let me get a little bit older and start to lose some of that speed. Maybe then.”