Words: Maryam Elhabashy
Not everyone can run a marathon let alone win one. However, Centennial alumni Alex Wang did exactly that on October 18, 2014. She completed the Baltimore Marathon with a time of 2:58.41, making her not only the sole female in the entire race to complete the 26.2 miles under 3 hours but also the winner of the female division.
“She had been hoping to go under three hours, and to do it in Baltimore is a tremendous accomplishment because it’s such a tough course,” said Wang’s former coach, Robert Slopek. “To run a [personal record] and win a marathon is something very few people can ever say they’ve done.”
Wang graduated from Centennial in 2009. She ran for the cross-country and track teams where she was mentored and coached by Alan Dodds and Robert Slopek.
“She ran varsity every year. She was a very strong runner and was able to push through a lot. She certainly contributed to the toughness of our team and was someone people could look up to,” said Slopek.
“We were very pleased when Alex moved into the Centennial district and joined our program. She certainly made our team better. Alex was an above average runner,” said Dodds.
Wang later ran for her college club at the University of Maryland and now runs for the Howard County Striders. Wang joined the Howard County Striders racing team in April of this year.
“She has posted some great performances this summer and … But I think the win at the marathon this past weekend is by far her most impressive accomplishment since joining the team,” said the racing team director of the Striders, Carlos Renjifo. “I expect many more outstanding results from her in the year to come.”
The coaches involved in training Wang were all very excited when they heard of her victory.
“I was very excited and very proud of her. I was watching the marathon on television and wondering when they were going to give an update on the women’s race and as soon as they showed her picture and said it was Alex, I was very happy but not surprised,” said Slopek.
Dodds mentioned, “Mr. Slopek actually texted me while I was at cross country practice, to let me know that she was about to win the race. I felt very proud that one of our own was that successful. I couldn’t wait to tell my runners.”
Coach Phil Lang said, “She was prepared; she paced herself well and she proved to be most talented woman in the race. We are all very proud of her.” Renjifo added, “Having her as part of the team has lifted the team up as a whole, making everyone push themselves a bit harder, and getting faster in the process.”