This past Sunday, Nov. 7, Philip Cecil, a DePauw alumnus from the Class of 1990 and a Phi Delta Theta, ran from Crawfordsville, home of Wabash College, all the way to Greencastle. Cecil said he chose this weekend to run because he wanted to commemorate the Monon Bell game while avoiding the heavy traffic between the towns on the weekend of.
Cecil designed the marathon run himself after an off-hand comment on the way home from one of the Monon Bell games during his time at DePauw where he told his roommate that he was going to run between the two schools.
“Three of my fraternity brothers [brought it up] over the summer or a little bit earlier, and I told them I was going to do it. My daughters heard me say it, so at that point I had to commit and start training for it,” Cecil said.
He’s been running for about four years now and has previously completed a 10K. “It’s as long as I’ve ever done,” Cecil said. “It’s long overdue.”
Cecil’s son Briggs, a current junior at DePauw, said his dad’s training for the marathon proved you don’t have to be a long-time runner to run. “ I would run with him in high school sometimes and he definitely wasn’t fast, but I was still impressed by the miles he could put down,” Briggs said, “I came home this summer and suddenly he’s planning to run a marathon. Then, over fall break, I could tell the running bug had bitten him.”
The route he planned was 27.1 miles, according to Google Maps. It started at the National Guard recruitment center in Crawfordsville and followed 231 to the “Buzz Bomb,” a World War II memorial made from a captured German bomb. He said he picked the memorial as the end point because “That’s when I always knew I was in Greencastle, when I came back to school: passing the Buzz Bomb on 231.”
In total, the run took just over four hours. Cecil estimated that three hours and 15 minutes of that time was spent running. He used the rest of the time for water breaks and one snack break. Before the run, he and his family scoped out the route to select areas to put up water stations.
According to Cecil, his family had asked him after the run if it was harder than he thought it’d be, and he said, “the answer is yes.” He said there was a moment in the run where he knew he’d be able to complete it. He’d expected that feeling to come at “the Nine Mile,” which he explained was the intersection between Route 231 and 36. It didn’t. Instead, he said, he felt it past the Old Hickory Golf Course.
His daughters had driven by on the road as he was running. “They passed me when I was running. I didn’t know they were coming… I saw the license plate, Illinois license plate. So it gave me a little extra energy to finish the run,” he said. His family was waiting for him in Greencastle with shirts they made commemorating the run.
“It’s good to set a crazy goal once in a while, even if it doesn’t mean anything,” he said. “Just set your mind to something, try it. And that’s all this was… it’s not a race, there’s no prizes, just something that I wanted to do.”
Briggs said he and his family didn’t doubt Cecil’s ability to finish the marathon. “It’s typical of him to accomplish anything he sets his mind to,” Briggs said, “his self-respect and dedication to challenge what he’s capable of will always be one of my biggest inspirations.”