Sports

TIME OUT with Joe Flanagan

Former Albion/Boone Central coach Tom Dickey (left), Kyle Wyatt, running coach Jeffery Boele at U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

Photos courtesy Ruth Wyatt

Albion native Wyatt follows passion to run

Some people have dreams … and they remain just dreams.
Others pursue their dreams, and turn them into something more.
Albion native Kyle Wyatt is one who pursued a dream and recently saw it turn into reality through passion, dedication and effort.
Wyatt competed in the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta this past weekend (Feb. 29), proving to himself, and runners everywhere, that a vision can lead to achievement.
But more on Wyatt’s Trial performance and finish later. His story, and his running career, began years ago in Albion, Nebraska.
Kyle began running at 13 years of age when his parents Ruth and David Wyatt told him they would only get internet in their home if he chose a sport. He chose cross country. Now, at age 38, he made another choice – follow a developed passion for running and attempt to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials.
It was a long and winding path from Albion to Atlanta.
Kyle, a 2001 graduate of Boone Central High School, became one of the most decorated runners in Cardinal history. After placing second in the Class B state 3200 meters and third in the 1600 meters in 1999, he was the 2000 Class B state champion in the 1600 meters, posting a personal-best time of 4:20.97, and also anchored the 4×800 meter relay team that placed third. In addition, he won Nebraska Class C cross country championships in 1998 and 1999. Wyatt still holds the Albion/Boone Central record in the 1600 meters, along with Boone Central marks in the 3200 meters and the 4×800 relay. He is fifth on the Albion/BC all-time cross country chart.
Wyatt went on to have a successful track and cross country career at the University of Nebraska, graduating in 2003. He competed in his first marathon – the Twin Cities Marathon – that year, placing first in his age group in 2:38.24. Two years later he ran in Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth (MN).
From there, Wyatt went to Toronto, Canada for graduate school. Due to his numerous obligations and commitments, he found it hard to make running a priority at that time. He needed the time to become familiar with his new home and city. The man who recently ran 100 miles a week to prepare for the Trials ran 100 miles a year back then.
In 2014, Kyle realized how much he missed marathon competition. He began working with Jeffery Boele through the online coaching service Training Peaks in 2015 and says that Boele’s coaching has made all the difference in his running career.
“Having somebody to be accountable to – the way he structures my weeks, long-runs and the way he throws things at me,” Wyatt told a Grady Sports Media student reporter at the University of Georgia prior to the Trials. “It would have been very different to be doing this on my own.”
While his running career went through highs and lows, Wyatt was embarking on a more intellectual path in his life career. He earned a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Toronto and worked as an editorial assistant for an academic journal. After finishing his doctorate, he became managing editor of a magazine.
Kyle is currently an editor-in-chief for the Literary Review of Canada, a print magazine based in Toronto that publishes ten times per year. “We’re Canada’s answer to the London Review of Books or The New York Review of Books,” he said. “Smart, accessible and engaged with important matters.”
Juggling careers, Wyatt trained with Boele and competed in the Chicago Marathon in 2017, finishing in a time of 2:24.
That only made him more determined to break 2:19 and qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Dreaming the dream and following his passion, Wyatt competed in the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and, in high humidity, rain and strong winds, finished 26th – in a time of 2:18.55!
Yes, Kyle Wyatt had qualified for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and would compete with the best of the best marathoners.
Wyatt and Boele continued the intense training while Kyle also redesigned the Literary Review of Canada, with a new debut issue in April, 2019.
Leading up to the Trials competition, Wyatt told Grady Sports Media his goal was to, “show up focused, healthy and fit, and then run as competitively as possible. I’d like to start that third and final lap in a good position and in a good frame of mind.”
On a windy, chilly Saturday in Atlanta – with wind gusts up to 20 mph – Olympic Trials runners pushed themselves to the limit on a brutally hilly course, which featured 1,389 feet of uphill and 1,382 feet of downhill.
With his high school coach Tom Dickey in attendance, Wyatt culminated the dream that began in 2014, and a passion dating to age 13, as one of over 600 qualifiers to start, including 265 male runners. Of 175 men completing the race, Wyatt finished 101st in a time of 2:25.04.
Not only a dream fulfilled and a personal achievement, Dickey noted, but especially impressive for a 38-year old who was the third-oldest competitor in the Trials field. Wyatt’s performance was that of a hearty, consistent runner – with a low mile time of 5:07 and only three of the 26 miles topping 6:00.
What now for Kyle Wyatt?
He won’t be going to the 2020 Olympics with two-time U.S. Trials champion Galen Rupp, 2020 runner-up Jacob Riley and Abdi Abdirahman, a five-time Olympian and, at age 43, the oldest U.S. Olympic marathoner ever. Only time will tell where Kyle’s next dream leads him. For now he has a busy career, with a magazine to polish and publish.
Whatever the future holds, however, you can bet it will include more miles of running for the Albion, Nebraska kid who qualified for, and competed in, the U.S. Olympic Trials.

(Includes information and excerpts from Grady Sports Media, www.runnersworld.com, www.flotrack.org)