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Credit: Chase Sutton

 

Although it was not the ending that he may have imagined for his Penn career, Andrew Hally did his finest to finish off his running journey in the best possible fashion.

Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, Hally grew up well-versed in both running and the comfort of Penn’s community, as his older brother, Patrick Hally, who graduated in 2018, was also a member of the track & field team. Wilmington is also home to Andrew’s close friends and former teammates, rising sophomores Michael Keenan and Sean Banko. 

As COVID-19 initially began spreading and uncertainty was most prevalent, Hally was traveling on spring break with his teammates. And as soon as they returned to campus, their spring outdoor season was officially canceled. Immediately, Hally knew he did not want to take a fifth year, despite an interruption to the final episode of his Quaker career. 

Unlike other student-athletes who were left with very unsatisfying potential endings to their athletic careers, Hally had already gained some semblance of closure and accomplishment, as earlier in the fall, Hally helped lead Penn to an Ivy League Championship in cross country. 

“It wouldn’t feel right running anywhere else,” said Hally. 

Another contributing factor to his decision regarding his running career was his indecision regarding the beginning of his career. For this reason, Hally wanted to begin working as quickly as possible.

Yet, the fiercely competitive side of Hally also forced him to test himself one last time. He settled on running a marathon, seeing it as a final and suitable test of his abilities, especially given his maximum distance was 15 miles. 

For most people, training for a marathon is a vigorous process. Many first-timers embark on training plans as long as 20 weeks, in addition to adhering to diet and nutrition guidelines. 

But for Hally and the runners who would join him, marathons are merely a weekend activity.

As a part of his impromptu plan, Hally weaved together the various parts of his running career, inviting his brother, his former high school teammates, his Penn roommate, and his graduate assistant, Chris Hatler, who graduated in 2017, to join him.

The diverse cast encompassed all the different periods of Hally’s running career. 

“I knew I wanted to run this with my friends because that was what always kept me in the sport,” said Hally. “It was mostly the team that was the reason that I stayed with it for so long, and the reason it made Penn way more enjoyable was having those guys with me.”

Hally plotted the course, which ran through Center City Philadelphia, all on his own back in March. 

During the race, Hally remembered Coach Dolan’s excellent aerobic and strength training and thought that the marathon was only as difficult as his hardest practices at Penn.

Hally was the only runner who completed the full marathon, as his brother biked and others only ran for portions. Hally finished with a time of 2:43:53, reaching his loose goal of under three hours.

Because no marathon is complete without a medal, Hally’s sister was there to put one around his neck when he crossed the finish line. Except it was no ordinary award.

Perhaps fittingly, the medal was a piece of string with a bottle of hand sanitizer attached to it.

In a time when so much is out of control, Hally took charge and finished off his running career on his own terms. 

Recently, Hally felt lucky and fortunate to get a job in Philadelphia at the software company SAP. He will have some adjusting to do as this job will start off in a desk in front of a computer instead of on a track.

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