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2018 Athletes of the Year

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Collegiate Running Association Announces 2018 Athletes of the Year


January 6, 2019 (Richmond, VA) – Bethany Sachtleben (Alexandria, VA/Northern Virginia Community College) and Matthew McDonald (Atlanta, GA / Georgia Tech) have been named the 2018 Collegiate Running Association Athletes of the Year.

2018 Female Athlete of the Year - Bethany Sachtleben


Sachtleben becomes the first two-time winner of the Collegiate Running Association’s Athlete of the Year Award. Sachtleben’s impressive 2018 included a victory at the Collegiate 10K Road Race National Championship (33:36 / $2,000) held within the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K presented by Kroger, which was held in Richmond, VA in April. A week prior to the 10k, Sachtleben ran 54:59 in the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Race in Washington, DC where she was the 3rd U.S. finisher. Both events were in her buildup to the Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon in Duluth, MN where she ran 1:12:22. Sachtleben’s mark in the half-marathon ranks as the #17 U.S. performance for the distance in 2018.


A successful spring racing season was a prelude to the fall. Sachtleben returned to Richmond in November to win the Markel Richmond Half Marathon, in a controlled 1:13:35, during her buildup to the California International Marathon. Saving the best for last, she crushed her personal best by over 7 minutes to place 6th in USATF Marathon Championship. Her time of 2:31:19 was well under the 2:37:00 “A” standard for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. 


As a student, Sachtleben earned a Bachelor’s in Finance from George Mason University in 2015, where she also qualified for the NCAA Championships and won multiple Atlantic 10 Conference titles. She is currently enrolled in graduate classes at Northern Virginia Community College where she is completing a degree in Accounting while serving as a volunteer for the George Mason University track & field and cross country programs where she is coached by Andrew Gerard. Sachtleben also served as a volunteer guest speaker for the Virginia 529 Kids Run prior to the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K.


Sachtleben was also named the Athlete of the Year in 2016. In her first-ever mountain race, Sachtleben was crowned the Collegiate Running Association’s 2016 National Champion. The race also saw her earn a spot on the U.S. Mountain Running Team for the 32nd World Mountain Running Championships (WMRC) held in Sapareva Banya, Bulgaria, as she placed 2nd overall in the USATF Championship division of the race, which was held concurrently with the CRA’s collegiate race. At the World Mountain Running Championship that September Sachtleben placed 18th and helped the USA team win the Bronze Medal.


When asked how she finds balance with a professional running career and graduate school, Sachtleben explained: “I wake up really early so I can fit everything in! I also have an awesome job with flexible hours which allows me to start early and get off early so I can train before the sun goes down and then study in the evenings.”


Follow Sachtleben on Twitter (@bsach1) and Instagram (@bethsach).

2018 Male Athlete of the Year - Matthew McDonald


McDonald, who runs for Atlanta Track Club’s Elite Racing Team, won the 2018 Collegiate 10K Road Race National Championship (30:10 / $2,000) within the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K presented by Kroger last April. From there he went on to set personal bests from 10K through the marathon and compete internationally in the Izumo Ekiden held in Izumo, Japan. 


After claiming his first Collegiate Running Association title in Richmond, McDonald went to the USATF Half Marathon Championships in Pittsburgh, PA where he placed 15th in 1:05:23. On July 4th he placed 20th in the Peachtree Road Race where he set a personal best of 30:09. In October, he ran the 10.2K anchor leg for the Ivy League Select team, made up of Ivy League Alumni for the Izumo Ekiden. 


From there McDonald’s focus was squarely on his buildup to the California International Marathon. As part of his marathon preparation he competed in the Las Vegas Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon where he placed 2nd in a personal best 1:04:54, just three weeks before the California International Marathon. 


Nearly ideal conditions greeted runners on December 2 and McDonald took full advantage of the weather, course and the competition running a personal best 2:14:05 to place 11th. His time was nearly a minute under the 2020 U.S. Olympic Teams Trials “A” standard of 2:15:00.


McDonald is currently working on a PhD in Chemical Engineering at Georgia Tech where he is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. In 2015 he completed a Bachelor in Science and Engineering while an undergraduate student at Princeton University.


“Running the U.S. Marathon Championship at the California International Marathon (CIM) was the highlight of the year,” said McDonald.  “I went through the first half much faster than I had planned, but I felt good and it ended up working out well. I had run CIM in 2017, and while I was happy with my time that race was much more painful. In comparison, 2018 felt great! I am excited to be running the US Olympic Marathon Trials here in Atlanta in February, 2020. It will be an amazing experience to run such an important race in my adopted home city.”


McDonald explained balancing a professional career, competitive running and busy volunteer work has become a lifestyle: “At times it can be challenging, but having a routine makes it much easier. I generally devote my mornings to running and don’t concern myself with school until 10 or 11 am. Since most of my academic commitment consists of laboratory research, I have the flexibility necessary to compete at a high level of running while working towards my professional goals. My advisors are also extremely accommodating and I could not be more thankful for that.”


Follow Matt on Instagram (@oldmcdonald93).


“Each year the Collegiate Running Association recognizes one male and one female student-athlete within our membership for their outstanding efforts. 2018 has been another great year with exceptional athletic performances and volunteer work by our membership,” said Steve Taylor, Co-Founder of the Collegiate Running Association. “Bethany and Matt are great examples of what dedicated student-athletes can achieve. They have a love of the sport and it shows in the way they compete.  As the Collegiate Running Association grows, we find ourselves inspired by the efforts of our entire membership.”  


Bethany Sachtleben Race Results in 2018

Race Name                                                    Location                           Date                    Place                   Time

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler                             Washington, DC                4/8/2018              3rd American     54:59

Ukrop’s 10k/CRA Championship                 Richmond, VA                   4/14/2018            1st                        33:36

Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon                   Duluth, MN                        6/16/2018            4th                     1:12:22 

Markel Richmond Half Marathon               Richmond, VA                   11/10/2018          1st                      1:13:35

California International Marathon             Sacramento, CA                12/2/2018            6th                     2:31:19



Race Name                                                    Location                            Date                    Place                    Time

Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon                    Duluth, MN                        6/16/2018            4th                     1:12:22

Stanford Invitational 10k                              Palo Alto, CA                      3/31/2018                                          32:50    

Portland Track Fest 5k                                  Portland, OR                       6/11/2017                                         15:48

USATF ½ Marathon Championship            Columbus, OH                   4/28/2017            4th                      1:13:28

VCU Health Richmond Marathon               Richmond, VA                    11/11/2017          1st                      2:39:00

USATF & Collegiate Mountain Running     Lincoln, NH                         7/3/2016              2nd/1st                 58:16

Ukrop’s 10k/CRA 10K Championship        Richmond, VA                      4/9/2016              2nd                        34:45

Collegiate Trail Running Championship   Indianapolis, IN                   6/13/2015            2nd                        38:40

Matthew McDonald Race Results in 2018

Race Name                                                    Location                           Date                    Place                     Time

Ukrop’s 10k/CRA Championship                 Richmond, Va                   4/14/2018               1st                       30:10

U.S. Half Marathon Championship            Pittsburgh, Pa                   5/06/2018              15th                   1:05:23

Peachtree Road Race (10K)                         Atlanta, Ga                         7/04/2018              20th                     30:09

Izumo Ekiden (10.2 K)                                   Izumo, Japan                    10/08/2018              3rd (leg)               

Las Vegas Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon        Las Vegas, NV                  11/11/2018              2nd                   1:04:54

California International Marathon              Sacramento, Ca               12/02/2018            11th                   2:14:05


Collegiate Running Association Athletes of the Year


2018-   Bethany Sachtleben (Northern Virginia College, VA)

             Matthew McDonald (Georgia Tech, GA)

2017-   Corey Dowe (University of New England, NH)

             Patrick Smyth (University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI)


2016-   Bethany Sachtleben (Northern Virginia College, VA)

             Hayden Hawks (Southern Utah University, UT)


2015-   Kellyn Taylor (Coconino College, AZ)

             Joseph Gray (Calvary Bible College, CO)


2014-   Megan Deakins Roche (Stanford University, CA)

             Tyler McCandless (Penn State University, PA)

The Collegiate Running Association (CRA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization founded November, 2013 with a mission to promote healthy lifestyles among college students by providing and expanding opportunities in the sport of running. The vision of the CRA is to offer national championship events in road, mountain, and trail running with prize money specifically reserved for college students enrolled in at least one class. Since 2014, the CRA has awarded over $100,000 in prize money and travel specifically to college students in road, mountain and trail running events. Membership is open to the public (click here).


Follow the CRA on TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, GOOGLE+, LinkedIn and RunnerSpace.


Contact:          Collegiate Running Association



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