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Enjoyable time at Point for Duram

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

Coming off a personal-best performance at a meet in Columbus, Point University’s Drew Duram was looking forward to his final few months as a member of the school’s track-and-field team.

Unfortunately for Duram, what was shaping up to be a memorable senior season was cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The season was suspended following a meet at Columbus State University on March 7, and it was later canceled.

At that final meet, Duram posted a time of 16 minutes, 46 seconds in a 3.1-mile race to finish sixth overall, and that was his best time at that distance.

Duram needed a time of 16:45 to qualify for the conference meet, and making that happen was one of the goals he set for himself coming into the season.

“Qualifying for conference would be my first goal. My next goal would be to break 16 minutes,” said Duram, a Troup High graduate. “In high school, me and my dad we always talked about the guys that could run in the 15s, and the 16s, and now I’m amongst those guys. I didn’t even break 18 (minutes) in high school.”

Even though Duram is a senior, he was given the option of returning for one more season because of a decision by the NAIA.

Duram considered coming back, but with a degree in hand, he’s ready to move on with his life and leave college athletics behind.

Duram is grateful for the time he had at Point University where he majored in business administration with a focus in supply chain management.

“I couldn’t imagine running anywhere else, or going to school anywhere else,” Duram said. “Point was an amazing experience. I was looking for colleges to go to, and Point was looking for runners, and it just worked out perfectly.”

Duram is also appreciative of the coaches and teachers who have helped him along the way.

“When I think about the influence my teachers and coaches had on my running journey, I feel very blessed,” Duram said. “These individuals paved the way for me to turn my passion for running into a sport that provided me with college scholarships to not only complete my degree, but learn some very valuable life lessons along the way. I’m living proof teachers and coaches do matter.”

One of those individuals, Heather Hoats, was a physical-education teacher at Long Cane Elementary School.

Duram said she “noticed that I was a good runner and enjoyed it. She encouraged me to run in every race event we had in P.E. She was the spark that started my passion for running.”

When Duram arrived at Long Cane Middle School, he was encouraged to stick with running by cross-country coach Jason Graham.

Duram said he “encouraged me to participate on the cross-country team. He was my motivation to turn my passion into an athletic sport.”

Duram continued to run cross country at Troup High, and he said coaches Peter Anderson and Brack Hassel “pushed and prepared me for running at the next level. They provided me with hope for a running opportunity in college.”

Gregg Mann is the distance-running coach at Point, and Duram said he “chiseled me into the runner I am today. Coach Mann provided the stern discipline a college runner needs to reach individual goals while teaching valuable life lessons along the way. He was not just a coach. He was my mentor.”

Duram has been running competitively since the seventh grade, and he doesn’t plan on stopping now.

“Post college, I plan on running a marathon at some point,” Duram said. “I just love long-distance running like that. It’s been really fun. I’d like to make it to the Boston Marathon, and maybe do the New York marathon or the Chicago marathon, the big three in America. I’ve never done one, so I’ll have to train, but that’s something post-college I really want to do. Another goal of mind beyond a marathon is maybe doing an ultra-marathon.”

Duram appreciates the life lessons he has learned through running.

“There are no shortcuts in any sport and running is no different,” Duram said. “You have to consistently train and put the time into your workouts to get the desired results you want to achieve. No one else can reach your goals for you, they are your goals to accomplish. Sometimes, athletic success isn’t about having the fastest time or being first to cross the finish line, it’s simply about not giving up. There were races where I didn’t cross the finish line with a (personal record) or a competitive time, but I always completed every race and crossed the finish line.”

Duram added that through running he has learned “life lessons that will stay with me forever.”