January 17, 2019 -- If it
were up to Alex Wilson and Marisa Howard, they would run forever. But as
professional runners, they know their bodies will eventually have other plans,
which is why they are pursuing their Master’s of Science in Nutrition and Human
Performance from Logan.
and Marisa, both college standouts in cross country and track and field,
crossed paths for the first time when they earned sponsorships from Oiselle
Running Apparel in 2015 as professional runners. Then, states apart, the recent
college graduates began Logan’s online program in January 2018. The two are
happy to have each other for support while they balance working, running and
is back at her alma mater as a full-time assistant track and field and cross country
coach for the University of Northern Iowa. She earned her undergraduate degree
in criminology and sociology, but shortly after graduation she decided she
wasn’t quite ready to leave the track and pursued coaching instead.
dedicates her free time to her running career. She is still sponsored by
Oiselle, with sights set on running the steeplechase for the U.S. Olympic Team
in 2020. In 2016, Alex qualified for the Olympic trials, and in 2017, she
placed 10th at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships.
“Qualifying for the Olympic trials was my
biggest accomplishment in my career so far,” Alex said. “I couldn’t believe it
when I crossed the finish line two seconds under the qualifying time.”
earned a nursing degree from Boise State University and currently works
part-time as a school nurse to allow time for training and travel, plus her
schoolwork. Like Alex, the steeplechase is Marisa’s best race, and she also
hopes to earn a spot on Team USA in 2020. In 2014, Marisa was the steeplechase runner-up
at the NCAA Championship, which was her biggest honor thus far.
came in kind of as a dark horse,” Marisa said. “I was in eighth place and ended
up surging, passing an Olympian and finishing in second place.”
parted ways with Oiselle in 2017 and is now running unsponsored. This season,
she is partnering with a non-profit called RUJA and will run with the company’s
name on her jersey. RUJA means “to dream” in Ugandan, and the non-profit
focuses on addressing the root causes of poverty in Uganda. “I went on a
mission trip with RUJA this summer to Uganda and it was amazing,” Marisa said.
“I want to help create awareness for their mission, and I can do that with my
their busy lives, Alex and Marisa both knew an online master’s degree program
was their best option. The two started searching for affordable programs that
had the curriculum to suit their interests and goals. For Alex, Logan’s program
was a perfect fit because it was nutrition-focused and related to sports.
love coaching, and this degree will help me better guide my athletes in nutrition,”
Alex said. “If I decide to stop coaching later, I’ll have a great degree to
fall back on.”
has always had a passion for cooking and nutrition, and she believes in
promoting long-term health and wellness through lifestyle changes. Her goal is
to combine this passion with her nursing knowledge to spread the word about
health and wellness. Logan’s Master of Science in Nutrition and Human
Performance was the perfect match.
day I hope to run a wellness program for a large corporation,” Marisa said. “This
degree will give me the knowledge and skills to back up what I already live and
preach about health and wellness.”
Marisa both feel that while Logan’s program is online, they are still receiving
great support from the faculty and enjoy being part of a community. “When I
first started, I had an academic advisor who would call and email me regularly
to make sure I was on the right page,” Marisa said. “It was extremely helpful.”
and Marisa are set to graduate in 2020, giving them two goals to work toward:
graduation and Team USA. Whether we see them running the steeplechase in Tokyo
in 2020, coaching or changing people’s lives with health and nutrition, these
future Logan grads will change the world for the better.
From left: Marisa Howard, Alex Wilson and an unidentified teammate