09:09 AM

Prepare to be Amazed

Let’s start this Jeopardy style.

Answer: 5 hours 39 minutes and 45 seconds.

Question: What was Courtney West’s finishing time in the 2021 New York Marathon?

The modest associate director of Development for the University of St. Thomas called her numbers “not my best time, but not my worst.” Though she has been a runner “off and on for 23 years,” this was her first time to run the NY Marathon.

“It was incredible,” she exclaimed. “The people of New York come out in droves, about a million spectators, to support the 33,000 runners. And they stay out on the course all day and bring an indescribable energy.”

Reasons to Hang in There

The disciplined athlete had completed other marathons, but New York’s is the largest in the world, coursing 26.2 miles through the city’s five boroughs. As her paces turned into blocks, then into miles, she found reasons to hang in there.

West observed, “Each race is different and requires internal motivation, but there are so many sources of inspiration. In New York, I ran the first 15 miles with a gentleman who was a first-time marathoner, and he made the miles fly by! Plus, I’m always inspired by the runners I see out there who are advanced in age, deaf, blind. I passed a woman on crutches at Mile 20 who had been injured on the course but was still going! It helps me to focus on how incredibly blessed I am to have the opportunity to be out there and physically able to run the race.”

She is also boosted by the no-excuses spirit she witnesses along the course.

“There are tons of people in the world who make excuses for why they can’t do things in life. On the marathon course, everyone is challenging themselves. Some have great challenges that you can visibly see, but many have personal internal challenges that you can’t see. None is making excuses.”

When the Running Bug First Bit

West first got into running after joining the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves when she was 17. She tackled her first 10K competition at Camp Johnson.

“I was surprised to win first place in my age group,” she recalled. “After that, I ran off and on but wasn’t racing much. Then, in 2014, I was motivated by two work colleagues to complete my first half marathon in The Woodlands.”

Since New York, West has run the Conroe 10-miler and the Bryan College Station Half Marathon. On New Year’s Day, she’s scheduled to participate in the Vintage Park 10K. Then, a couple of weeks later, it’s the Chevron Houston Marathon, then the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon, followed by the Zydeco Half Marathon.

When she isn’t training for the next marathon, fundraising for UST scholarships, or raising two children with her husband, West is earning her Master of Art in Faith & Culture (MAFC) from St. Thomas.

Answer: Courtney West.

Question: Who is one of the most amazing people at the University of St. Thomas-Houston?