By Sheri Duff
“Zach Marshall is arguably the best male runner that I have ever coached,” bragged Champlain Valley Union (CVU) head cross country coach Scott Bliss. And that’s not all. “Zach’s work ethic and discipline is second to none. His improvement from last year to this year is amazing. Zach has moved into being our #1 runner because of his hard work and determination. He is what you would like all your runners to aspire to be. But even more importantly he is an amazing young man,” Bliss noted.
With all the accolades, it may come as surprise that Marshall didn’t begin running competitively until last year. “My first two years at CVU, I played soccer. But I’m really into mountain biking so I thought taking up cross country running was going to be training for that. Instead mountain biking has become training for my cross country running,” he said with a laugh.
Born on Nov. 9, 1995, Marshall has lived his entire life in Hinesburg. His family includes parents Renee and Tom; younger brother Tyler, a CVU freshman; and two dogs, Maddie and Mia.
A two-year varsity cross country runner, Marshall has also participated on CVU’s Nordic ski team and track & field team. He also enjoys recreational downhill skiing and mountain biking. “I spent my entire summer at Catamount [Outdoor Family Center] mountain biking.”
In answer to a question, Marshall states, “My main strength in running is never giving up. No matter how I’m feeling or where I am in the race, I will always run to the best of my ability.” And that’s why he obviously excels. In his last four races, Marshall has placed in the Top 20 and qualified for the 2013 New England Cross Country Championships.
His Grad Challenge Project combines his two passions: mountain running. Mountain races take place over an infinite variety of distance, ascent, descent, and terrain and is based on time, how to reach the finish taking the defined way as fast as possible. “I trained over the summer and competed in the Top of Vermont Race in August. I plan to do more specific training for mountain running over the winter and then do some other mountain races in the early spring to see if I can improve my performance.”
“My greatest achievement is finishing a race in under 17 minutes. It was a really big goal of mine this year and I was finally able to do that at the Manchester Invitational,” Marshall answered without hesitation. “It was definitely my proudest moment to date.”
As the cross country season winds down, Marshall is contemplating his future. “I’m interested in pursuing a degree in physical therapy. Right now I am looking at UVM, the University of New England, and Colby-Sawyer among a few others, but I have not decided yet.” It’s unlikely that this decision will add any undue pressure, because Marshall, with his special brand of talents will be able to take his future in stride.