Noah Droddy's farthest boulder run was a half-mile jog from the Little Rock Apartments in the dead of winter.
On one occasion while training in the nature park, a vicious, territorial goose chased him.
Another time, rabid dogs pursued him while he trained in a Vietnamese jungle during his South East Asia Winter Term trip.
On top of all that, he holds the school record in the 10,000 meter run.
“That naked half-mile in the cold felt like a marathon,” Droddy said about his boulder run from the Little Rock Apartments.
Although this comparison seems a bit weird, he speaks from experience. With his most recent half marathon time of 1:04:18 at the Rock ’n’ Roll Arizona half marathon on Jan. 17, Droddy has qualified for the U.S. Olympic time trials in the marathon event.
“For guys like me, just being at the trials, that’s the win,” said Droddy. “The Olympic team is probably off the radar, but qualifying for this race is a peak for those who make it.”
Droddy’s running career began in high school, where he joined the team his freshman year. His dad, also a runner, was influential in his decision to start running.
Droddy says that he didn’t take running too seriously in high school; never making the all-state team and only starting to train seriously his senior year.
“When I graduated [high school], I was not the guy you thought would run in college,” Droddy said. “But my [high school] coach was a DePauw alum and encouraged me to apply.”
After sloppily filling out a paper application to DePauw, he recalls being surprised about his acceptance, and his opportunity to run on the cross-country and track team.
“DePauw was last on my choice of schools to go to,” said Droddy. “But it just worked out that it ended up being the school that I went to.”
Droddy worked hard early on at DePauw and said he was pushed by his teammates and coach. Cross Country and Track Coach, Kori Stoffregen, who saw potential in Noah’s lengthy build in high school, was excited to tap into his potential.
“His freshman year, he was still unsure about how good he was,” said Stoffregen. “The sophomore year was when it really started: he started working hard and got serious and did all the right things. He was very coachable—which made it easy for me.”
Droddy went from finishing top four on the team his freshman year, to qualifying for Nationals his sophomore year, to then finishing 9th and 8th in the Country in cross-country his junior and senior years, respectively. With injuries during the track season his freshman and junior year, it wasn’t until his senior year that he was able to seriously compete and eventually break the school record for the 10,000 meter run, with a time of 29:41:42.
He was quite the team leader his senior year, recalls current senior Ben Gordman, who ran with Droddy on the team four years ago. He said Droddy’s easy-going attitude combined with his work ethic made for an interesting training environment.
“I once wore gym shorts to practice because I ran out of running shorts,” Gordman recalls. “He called me Ben Abdul-Jabbar for months.”
Droddy’s laid-back attitude has also kept him from getting burnt out of long-distance running, claims Stoffregen. But Droddy also contributes the longevity of his running career to the nurturing training environment of DePauw’s running programs.
“I was running 50-60 miles a week while other guys were running 100-120 miles a week,” said Droddy. “If I was running 120 miles a week, I don’t know that I’d be running well now.”
Now, Droddy lives in Colorado, where he works part time for a run specialty store, selling shoes and apparel, and then spends the rest of the day training. He routinely eats two eggs, a bagel with cream cheese and a piece of fruit for breakfast; he runs about ten miles a day; and he spends lots of time in the weight room staying on top of his strength and speed.
“It’s just about working hard every day,” Droddy said. “And when you think you’re working hard, realize that someone is working twice as hard as you.”
Droddy will run at the U.S. Olympic marathon time trials on Feb. 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. According to Droddy, of the near 240 runners who qualified, only the top three will qualify for the team.