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MARK ALTSTAETTER: Leon finishes 10th at Boston


August 23. 2013 1:22PM
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During his high school days, Craig Leon had a passion to run.



But, he believed he could take it one step further.



Leon, a former Van Wert High School and Ohio University runner, finished 10th overall at Mondayís Boston Marathon. The 28-year-old Leon covered the 26.2-mile course in 2:14.38, which was a personal-best by a minute.



Leon now lives and trains in Eugene, Oregon.



Leon had some success at the high school level.



He competed at the state level in both track and cross country his senior year. However, his path to becoming an elite runner was not an easy one.



After high school, Leon walked on to Ohio University, where he never won a conference championship or was an All-American.



But, he continued to work hard and eventually became an Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon. On January 14, 2012, Leon competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials, where he finished 26th overall in 2:15.42.



Leon seemed to defy the odds from the time he began to run. His stature could be described as small. In high school, he stood possibly 5-foot-7 and did not weigh much over 100 pounds.



And today, he is not much bigger.



However, Leon did not let his size hold him back. Once he got to Ohio University, he took his training to the next level and became one of the best in the Mid-American Conference in distance running.



In 2010, Leon decided to tackle the marathon. His first 26.2-miler, ironically, was the Eugene Marathon.



Leon went out conservatively at Eugene and finished strong toward the end, en route to a first-place finish. And to make it even more amazing was the fact he finished just four minutes shy of making the Olympic Trials in his first-ever marathon.



Then, during the summer of 2011, Leon decided to move to Oregon to focus on taking marathon running to the next level.



Since that move, Leon has made a name for himself in distance running.



Leonís previous marathon was the Mississippi Blues Marathon on Jan. 5, in which he won with a time of 2:16.48.



In 2012, Leon finished 20th overall at the Chicago Marathon in 2:15.38.



Some of Leonís other personal bests include: half marathon (1:04.52); 25-kilometers (1:17.23); 10-mile (49:14); 5,000 meters (14:23) and 10,000 meters (29:49).



For nearly a decade, Leon has proven that if you set your mind to something and work hard, that anything is possible.



Who knows?



Maybe there's a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team in 2016 for Leon.






Mark


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