Maggie Reid, Features Editor
Derek Seminaro is an ultra-marathon athlete who was born and raised in upstate New York.
Being a native Utican, he decided to attend Utica College after graduating high school.
“Choosing Utica College was an easy decision for me,” Seminaro said. “It was right down the street from where I lived.”
Seminaro graduated in 2013 with a degree in cybersecurity and information assurance. During his college years, Seminaro was also a member of the UC cross country and track team.
During his collegiate career, Seminaro mainly ran the 400- and 800-meter races and preferred outdoor track over any other running season.
“I loved it because the outdoor track had longer turns and longer straightaways,” Seminaro said. “It was always a plus if the weather was nice too.”
Looking back, Seminaro’s favorite running memory was when he helped lead UC to a victory after falling behind in a relay.
“My most favorite running memory definitely had to be the come-from-behind win in the 4X400 at Moravian College,” Seminaro said. “We were in second place and Lehigh College, who was in first, had a large lead on us. I was the anchor leg in that race.
From the second I got the baton, I could see myself closing in on the other runner. At the last 100 meters, we were neck and neck, and right before the finish, I edged him by a couple of inches, winning the race for the team.”
Since graduating, Seminaro decided to challenge himself by going the distance — 26.2 miles to be exact.
“I decided to run my first marathon in the winter of 2013, the San Antonio Rock and Roll Marathon,” Seminaro said. “The 5Ks started getting old and I was looking for a new challenge.”
Seminaro now lives in Texas, and typically does three to four marathons a year. And his Utica College spirit remains strong as he always competes wearing his old UC jersey.
“My typical training week includes three short runs, a tempo run, a speed workout and one long run,” Seminaro said. “The most different part of training for me is that, living in Texas, I’m able to run year round. I don’t have to deal with the elements as much down here. The hardest thing I deal with is the heat. Some days it can get up to 110.”
Seminaro soon felt unchallenged by the marathons, and wanted to try something else more strenuous – ultra marathons. Ultra marathons are any race longer than the traditional 26.2-mile marathon.
“Running an ultra marathon was unlike any other experience,” Seminaro said. “I got so used to running 26.2 miles that I was ready for a new challenge. When you’re hitting miles 27, 28, 29 and 30, you’re really hoping that the finish line is right around the corner. The body is slowly deteriorating and shutting itself down.”
So far, Seminaro has completed one ultra-marathon, nine half marathons and 13 full marathons, including two Boston Marathons. In 2019, he will be running the Boston Marathon for the third time — and he has no plans to slow down.
Seminaro’s training for these races consists of long mileage, and his runs range from 15-20 miles.
The intense training leads to good and bad days for Seminaro, as it can sometimes be hard to continue.
“Out of college, it’s hard to keep yourself accountable due to everyday life,” Seminaro said. “To make it easier on myself, I make a scheduled time out of the day to run or else I won’t get it done. My running group meets every Saturday. The easiest way to stay motivated is to have a goal to reach for. If I am not signed up for a race, I won’t take my training serious.”
Currently, Seminaro is taking his training seriously by raising money to support a good cause.
“From now until March 3, I am raising money for Team World Vision,” he said. “World Vision is the largest non-governmental provider of clean water in the world. My charity goal was $1,310, but due to overwhelming support, I have raised my goal to $3,000.”
For information on how to donate and support Derek’s cause, contact him at Dsem777@gmail.com.