UM’s Matt Maloney to pursue marathon career

After a remarkable turn-around season for Matt Maloney, the UM Sophomore has decided to leave school to train for a career in the marathon.
Maloney, who is referred to as “Moose” by his teammates due to his relatively sizeable frame, capped off his 2002 season with a courageous race at the NCAA South Regional in Knoxville, Tennessee. His performance placed him fourth on Miami’s team, a career-best.
“The kid ran out of his gourd. He ran ridiculous,” the team’s top runner Matt Mulvaney said. “That was probably one of the gutsiest races I’ve ever seen.”
Maloney’s teammates could not believe the ferocious kick he unleashed in that race.
“We’ll all be able to see Moose’s kick from the NCAA South Regional when Fox airs their next episode of When Animals Attack,” freshman teammate Alex Brutvan joked.
But Maloney’s speed is no mystery. He began his collegiate career as a 400-meter runner, then joined the UM cross-country team last fall and consistently finished as the team’s number six runner, an astounding feat, considering the 8,000-meter races were much farther than what he was used to racing.
Now looking to jump up in distance again, Maloney will go from a 6.2-mile race, to the grueling 26.2-mile distance of the marathon.
“If you look at Moose’s season,” senior teammate Dan Boniface said, “his best races were on the most difficult courses we ran. That tells a lot about his heart. I think he’ll do well at the marathon distance.”
Maloney plans to debut in the marathon on May 25 in Burlington, Vermont.
“It’s hard to pick out a goal when you’re not really certain what you can do,” Maloney said. “But I would say I’m shooting for 2:45. And as always, I want to have fun doing it, no matter what my times are. A hard effort is what I’m looking for.”
But why would Maloney leave UM now, after proving he can be a solid performer in big races?
Maloney said that an extreme distaste for classes was one of the major contributing factors to his decision. However, he admits, he was never completely sold on the idea of college in the first place.
“It just always seemed that everyone I ever talked to in school not only felt they should go on to college, but that they had to,” Maloney said. “Even in speaking with guidance counselors I got the feeling you would be viewed as something of a failure if you didn’t take that next step.”
But Maloney did take that next step and wound up at UM, where he battled through his first year valiantly.
“I really started to dislike school, I would say more than I ever have which is saying something,” Maloney said. “Everyday was a struggle to go to school and then go and run in the evening. I remember waking up so many days and just thinking, ‘I hate my life.'”
Those closest to Maloney were surprised to even see him return to UM at all, following last spring.
“He really did not want to go back this year,” long-time friend Chris Hartmann said. “I tried to convince him to stay, because I was taking off the semester, myself and it seemed like that’s what he needed. But he just wouldn’t budge. He said he had to go back to redeem himself in cross-country. I don’t know; he must really love running.”
Maloney admits, he had unfinished business in cross-country.
“It really was the main, if not the only reason I returned,” Maloney said. “I just felt like I wanted to leave UM cross-country with a good taste in my mouth, so-to-speak”
Maloney put together an unbelievable summer of training in New Hampshire in preparation for the 2002 season, running a steady 60-plus miles per week.
But, a death to a close family member brought Maloney home for services, causing him to miss a race, and re-evaluate his life at UM. He had made his decision; he would leave UM and begin training in New Hampshire for the marathon.
“My family is a huge part it. I really feel like a lot of who I am is a product of New Hampshire. I just can’t imagine feeling so comfortable being anywhere else,” Maloney said.
Maloney will move on, and it’ll leave a difficult spot to fill on the UM cross-country team.
“We’re definitely going to need someone step up to fill in for him because he was definitely a key to our team this year,” Mulvaney said.
As for Maloney’s plans for formal education, he says he hasn’t completely given up on them, and plans to return to classes, possibly nearer to home, at some point.
“Even with all the things I dislike about UM, I have enjoyed some of the times I’ve had and the people I’ve met. There are ups and downs with every situation and this is no different,” Maloney said. “I will definitely be keeping in touch with the good friends I’ve made here.”