Catching Up with Dylan Ferris

April 22, 2010

GoStanford.com: What inspired you to start running track?

Ferris: What first inspired me to run was mainly the enjoyment I got out of running. As a kid I loved to run, I wouldn't run long but I would just go run around a house and see how fast I could do it. Growing up in North Carolina, we would go to the beach a couple times every summer and I would always run up and down the beach. For the most part I remember always liking running and being 'fast' when we would have recess in elementary school. Later, I started running track in middle school (7th and 8th grade we could do sports). I really liked it then and was fairly competitive but certainly not the best guy out there. That was just a lot of fun for me so I stuck with it in high school and that really shaped me into the runner I am now.  

GoStanford.com: You just recently broke the four-minute mile, running 3:58.90. How did you feel when you finished that race?

Ferris: Upon seeing the results pop up on the screen that I had just run 3:58.90, I was pretty excited. As a miler, that is the one thing everyone wants to do and I had just done it, so of course it was really fun for me. My teammate, JT Sullivan, was in that race too and he congratulated me right after we saw it. We shared my moment of success for a brief period, before the pain from running started to creep in and I realized how tired I was. That was probably one of my greatest track moments thus far in my career just because of the prestige running sub-four has among runners and non-runners alike. The coolest part about it was that nearly everyone knows what it means to run under four minutes because we have all ran a mile sometime in P.E. class so everyone knows what it feels like. Of course after the race was exciting because Justin Marpole-Bird was in the next heat and he also ran under four with a 3:58.76 and teammates and coaches alike were congratulating us both. 

GoStanford.com: When you are running for fun, what goes on in your head and how do those thoughts compare to when you are running in a competition?

Ferris: When I am running for fun, I would consider that distance training unless I am running for a workout or a race. When I am with my teammates, I am not really thinking. Most of the time, we are just talking about track, school, or other things most people would have a typical conversation about. When I am out running alone on regular days, I think about all kinds of things. If school is tough, I will think about what I need to study...if I have a race coming up, I will think about how I am going to race, but mostly I just think of whatever comes to mind. Today I thought of what I was going to do this summer. I wouldn't say I think of any thing specific; it just depends on my mood, I suppose.

GoStanford.com: Where is your favorite place near Stanford to do training runs?

Ferris: My favorite place around Stanford to do training runs would probably be Los Altos Hills. I like doing my long run out there because it is a pretty scenic area and the loop takes about 80 or 85 minutes so I don't have to add on once I finish the loop. I like going back there and checking out all the huge houses, but the fact that it has dirt trails is best because I don't have to run on asphalt.

GoStanford.com: You are interested in majoring in engineering. What do you plan to do in the engineering field after college or do you have other plans for the future?

Ferris: Right now I have intentions of majoring in Product Design. I really don't have any idea what I will do after college, but it would be really fun for me if I could work somewhere that produces athletic equipment. I would want to design shoes or sports products, so that in that way, I would still be close to the sport of running. On the side, I would also like to coach high school track.

GoStanford.com: Talk about some of your other interests at Stanford. 

Ferris: I wouldn't say I have a lot of other interests at Stanford, but when I do have free time, I like to see events like the Battle of the Bay. Comedy, stand-up, improv, and hip-hop performances are the main things that I want to get to see more and those are mostly what I go out to see.  

GoStanford.com: Tell us about a role model that has made a significant impact on who you are today. 

Ferris: Besides my family, I would say my high school coach, Mike Riley, was a major role model. He was unlike my parents because it was not his job to praise me every time I finished a race. Instead, he would tell me the truth about my running. He really got me to train and think highly about myself and running. When I was a freshman in high school, he started coaching and I thought it would be good if I ran under two minutes for the 800 meters and he got me to achieve my goal that first year. He really turned me into a hardworking athlete and he played a large role in getting me to be considered by Stanford in the first place. I think the biggest part was him knowing what I was going through and knowing how to connect with me. He would tell me about his past running experiences and what he did wrong to make sure I did not do the same thing. I think he framed a lot of situations perfectly for me; he inspired me to get my mind straight and do something during the races that I may have never thought was possible. He helped me see what I could really be, if I trusted myself and what I was doing, but more importantly he got me to actually do those things instead of only think about them. I really thank him for getting me to where I was when I first entered Stanford. I also want to thank Coach Dunn for getting me to where I am today.

GoStanford.com: If you could run to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Ferris: If I could run anywhere, I would go to the Caribbean. I would really like to go to the beaches and run on them, but mostly just hangout and have fun. I went to Trinidad this summer for track but I would like to go for a vacation sometime. Although, I wouldn't want to have to run to get there because that is way too far.

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