Duriel Hardy (second from left) ran a speedy 30:39 to take second at the Capitol 10,000 last April

As a high school runner back in West Chester Pennsylvania, Duriel Hardy set a school record for the 5K with a speedy 15:16. He also set high marks like 4:19 for the mile and 9:21 for two miles.  Hardy went on to run for Brown University where he was a star track and cross-country runner, and the 2010 Ivy League Champion indoors at 5000 meters. No easy feat, considering Hardy was enrolled in the rigorous pre-med track at Brown at the time. He went on to earn his medical degree at Duke University School of Medicine and is currently a neurologist within The University of Texas Health Austin Pediatric Neurosciences at Dell Children’s Medical Center.

Despite the mental and physical demands of his career in medicine, Hardy has returned to top running form. Overcoming a metatarsal stress fracture last winter, he served notice that he’s a force to be reckoned with when he nearly caught eventual winner David Fuentes (30:34) at the Capitol 10,000 last April, posting a 30:39. But the real breakthrough came at the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon on June 18, where he lowered his half-marathon PR to 1:04:52, a 4:58 pace.

“I’m so pumped to have run a HUGE personal record in the half marathon, crushing my old PR (1:06:03) by over a MINUTE!” said Hardy, 34. “It’s been a crazy ride with two stress fractures in my foot, tons of cross training and PT to finally running on the ground again.”

“The half has been a distance that I haven’t been able to do really well at. So it was nice to breakthrough and run what I’m really capable of,” he added.

Like many top runners, there’s a strong genetic component to Hardy’s success. His father was a top runner in high school and college. “Dad wanted me to be a sprinter or middle-distance runner,” said Hardy. “He always felt that he was slow because he was a distance runner. So he wanted me to focus on the fast stuff. Once I tried cross-country though, I knew that was for me.”

Though Hardy’s more of a long-distance man, his favorite inspirational quote comes from a famous middle-distance runner: “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win” – Roger Bannister

Hardy qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon trials with a 2:18:21 at the California International Marathon in 2019. The new standard requires a 2:18:00 or better or a 1:03:00 or better in the half marathon.

“The marathon is my next goal. My initial plan was to run the half at Grandmas and then Berlin Marathon, but I got a stress fracture last winter,” said Hardy. At first Hardy was denied entry at Berlin, but just in June race organizers notified him that he’d been entered in the sub-elite field.

“So now I’m back on track to qualify for the trials,” he said. “The marathon is a whole other beast. It’s different from any other race I’ve ever run. I’ve never been a believer in race predictions. They don’t always translate well. For me, I’m so new to the marathon that I don’t know what to expect. I’ve really only run one or two marathons. I’m still trying to figure it out. In a way it’s kind of exciting.”

Hardy is currently coached by New York-based Brendan Martin, who understands that he has a full-time career as a physician.

“It’s challenging being a full-time physician and training at an elite level,” said Hardy. “Sometimes I may miss a long run because I’m call. In a way it’s a blessing in disguise, because I’d probably overdo it and get in injured otherwise. Mentally I’m not hyper-focused on running because I’ve learned to balance my sport with hard work.”

Upcoming Races: Saturday, July 2 at 7:30 a.m., the Firecracker 5K at K Oaks Clubhouse in Lago Vista. Saturday, July 2 at 8:20 a.m., the Run White and Blue 5K at Fisherman’s Park in Bastrop.  Monday, July 4at 7:00 a.m., Four on the Fourth (4-miler) in Georgetown.