Marathon Man: Thomas Madut
April 23, 2012 9:40 PM
Thomas Madut may not have been born here in South Dakota, but he considers it home. And his desire to do his home state proud carried him to a very impressive finish in last week's Boston Marathon. That's why he's our Karl's TV and Appliance Athlete of the Week.
Madut came to Sioux Falls from South Sudan as a refugee back in 2001. He found more than just refuge though, he also found his passion.
"I started at Lincoln High School." Madut says, "After that I fell in love with running."
Madut started running track and cross country, with his specialty being long distance races. He parlayed that into a scholarship to run at Dakota Wesleyan. Even though he was good, Madut never thought his running career would wind up taking him to maybe the most prestigious race in the world.
"Nope." Madut says, "I never thought I would be running a Boston."
After running in marathons for four years, Madut tried his hand at the world's oldest 26-mile endurance test: the Boston Marathon.
"I felt great." Madut says, "I wasn't even nervous or anything like that. I was just full of joy."
Madut was racing with some of the best runners in the world, intimidation wasn't the major obstacle he had to overcome though, it was the heat. With his background, growing up in a traditionally hot African country, Madut figured he wouldn't be bothered by the temperatures reportedly reaching the upper eighties, but around the 17th mile, exhaustion started to set in. Madut dug deep and thought of the one thing that could pull him through, his home.
"It's too late to give up and most of all, I know my hometown, my home state, South Dakota, They're all rooting for me, I cannot let them down," Madut says, "I'm just gonna push it, stay strong, and finish. That was my goal. It's too late to back off, it's hot, but I can handle it. No pain, no game."
Madut fought through the pain, finishing the race, something not even the 2011 winner could accomplish in the scorching New England heat. What's more, the fact that he finished wasn't the most impressive accomplishment of Madut's race.
"21,554 people actually finished the race." Madut says, "I finished 46th overall which was a pretty good goal for me."
And he's planning on topping that next year.
"Top 40?" Madut asks, "Why not? Why not?"
Madut's been a busy guy as of late. Not only has he been running, he's been going to grad school. He'll graduate from DWU, May 5th, with a masters degree in educational policies and administration.Follow KDLT Sports at @KDLTSports and KDLT Weekend Sports Anchor Kolbe Nelson at @KolbeNelson for opinions, links, and updates on Twitter. And don't forget to check out the KDLT Sports Facebook Page