BOSTON (NBC 26) — A Lawrence University alumnus finished among the world's top runners Monday.
24-year-old Joe Kortenhoof placed 52nd out of more than 25,000 runners at the Boston Marathon. Even more impressive: he just ran his first marathon less than a year ago.
"After just running for a year just easy running I decided maybe I should take a shot at this marathon business because I'd always been told as an athlete that I would be a good marathon runner," he said Tuesday in an interview with NBC 26.
Kortenhof now lives in Boston, so he decided he wanted to run in his hometown race.
But first, he needed to qualify.
"I signed up for the Manchester City Marathon in New Hampshire and got a quick four weeks or so of training in just to put down a qualification time for Boston," he explained.
Kortenhof finished that race in around 2 hours and 34 minutes, which was good enough to get him in.
Then he ramped up the training ahead of Boston.
"I had done four months of pretty intense training," he said. "80-plus miles per week of training. I just felt amazing the whole race."
That led to a finish even he couldn't believe.
"My goal going in, I knew I wanted to run 2:25 for the marathon which I ended up pretty much doing perfectly," he said. "But I had no clue that was going get me to almost be in the top 50 of one of the most elite marathons in the world."
"I didn't believe that I was actually 52nd," he laughed. "I thought that might be without the pro athletes. But that includes the pro athletes as well so I was pretty shocked about it."
In the fall of 2019, Kortenhof placed 52nd at the NCAA Division III Championships. Now, he's 52nd in one of the biggest races in the world.
He's on a meteoric rise, and he's already thinking ahead to the Olympic Trials in 2024.
"I believe if I set my mind to it I could do it," Kortenhof said. "But it is a lofty goal and I would have to run sub-2:18 in the Marathon to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic trials.
"But," he continued. "I definitely want to continue on this journey and see where it takes me."
Kortenhof is originally from Portland, Ore. However, he does have ties to the Badger State. He said he is the 30th member of his family to attend Lawrence, dating all the way back to 1906.