Cumberland coach to run his 10th Boston Marathon

Jacob Smith • Apr 10, 2018 at 6:12 PM

Cumberland University head cross-country coach Jim Seckel will run in his 10th consecutive Boston Marathon on Monday.

Seckel started to run competitively when he was in middle school, and from there, it developed into a lifestyle for him.

“I started when I was 12 years old, just in middle school, running track in middle school,” said Seckel. “I kind of discovered I had a talent for it, and I enjoyed it. I never really stopped through middle school, high school, college. I served in the Army after college, so, you know, running was a way of life partly for work there. I just stayed around running and started to coach. You know, I just started when I was 12, and I never stopped.”

Seckel graduated from West Point Military Academy in 1990, where he competed on the track and cross-country teams for four years. Seckel and his wife moved to Murfreesboro in 1997 when his Army tour was complete.

“We lived in Murfreesboro for several years and then moved to Old Hickory. We recently just moved to Lebanon just about a month ago,” said Seckel. “So, I’ve been in the area since ’97.”

According to Seckel’s wife, Judy Seckel, he’s completed more than 30 marathons in his career as a runner.

“He’s a pretty serious runner,” said Judy Seckel. “He’s been running for pretty much his whole life, even through middle school. He was in the Army, so of course, running is mandatory when you’re in the Army. So, he served his time there, and he’s actually a full-time engineer by trade, but his passion has always been running.”

Seckel came to Cumberland University in December 2014 after a successful two-year coaching stint at Franklin Road Academy in Nashville. While there, he took the boys’ cross-country team to the state meet in 2013 and helped the girls’ team reach the state meet for the first time in program history.

Seckel said he’s enjoyed the experience he’s gotten at Cumberland and the chance to see and participate in the program’s growth.

“I’ve loved it,” he said. “Cumberland is thriving, it’s growing. It’s got me a chance to come into a program, which had just been restarted three years before, and so I’ve been able to kind of see the program grow and see better and better athletes come in every year and see us have more and more success and be more and more competitive each year.”

As far as his own goals as a runner, Seckel said he just has one thing to shoot for at the Boston Marathon.

“I think the biggest thing with me right now is I need to run three hours and 30 minutes or below to re-qualify for next year,” he said. “My priority is really more on the coaching now and secondary on my training, but I think to keep the string alive and qualify to go back next year would probably be the goal.”

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