Adjunct professor and former BYU track runner Jared Ward finished the LA Marathon in third place and qualified for the US Olympic marathon team Saturday morning.
Ward completed the 26.2 mile race in 2 hours and 13 minutes, finishing behind Galen Rupp and Meb Keflezighi.
“He’s a very hard worker and he’s got a great head on his shoulders,” said BYU head track and field coach Ed Eyestone before the race. “He’s got that same kind of scientific approach that he has with his school and applies it to his training and his racing.”
According to the LA Times, Ward raced past Tyler Pennel in the 21st mile and was able to hold on to third place for the last five miles.
Ward, who was the US Marathon Champion at the same race last year, was confident with his training plan that coach Eyestone helped him prepare. Ward has continued his close ties with the BYU track and field program since graduating last year.
“One of the reasons I’ve stuck with running is that it feels like what I’m supposed to do,” Ward said before the race. “Really why I kept at it is I felt like running was a calling of sorts in my life. That’s what I felt like God wanted me to do be doing. That kept me motivated through the slumps.”
Ward will represent the U.S. in the marathon in Rio in the 2016 Summer Olympics.