Cougar of the Week: Alex Hull

Alex Hull (’18) has rocketed out of the gate this season for Clark Men’s Cross Country, overtaking co-captain and last season’s top runner John Allard (’16) in a few races already. Hull also achieved a PR (personal record) in the 8 kilometer race of 27:15 at the UMass Dartmouth Shriners Invitational on Sept. 19. He sat down with The Scarlet to talk about being coached by his uncle, photography, and music.

Photo taken by Jonathan Edelman
Photo taken by Jonathan Edelman

Scarlet: How have you been able to improve some of your times by over a minute this year?

Hull: Last season, I was kind of improving from the beginning of last season of my freshman year to the end, and by the end of last year, I was number two on the team. So Coach Gray, who’s also my uncle, pulled me aside at the end of a race and was like, “You know, Alex, you have some potential and you gotta put in the work, do some work this summer, and you can really start off next season where you leave off this season.” I took that as motivation, so I worked really hard this summer, and I think it paid off.


Scarlet: What else have you done to prepare for this season? Have you cut back on desserts?

Hull: My family’s actually pretty healthy eaters. We shop at Whole Foods all the time, so diet wasn’t really an issue, it was just a matter of keeping with it.


Scarlet: Nice. I’ve noticed that other runners have also made vast improvements as well this season.

Hull: Yeah, I think it’s awesome. We only lost Kyle [Sullivan (‘15)], who’s actually the assistant coach now, and he’s been a great leader. He’s a great coach, because everyone knows him. He knows how the runners are, he knows how to motivate people, what they can handle, so that definitely has helped with the improvement of the team. And personally, it’s been my goal to beat John ever since my first year. And it’s also been other guys, like my classmate Ryan Van Dine (’18). He’s been moving up too. So yeah, it’s good to see kids step up and take the place of John, and to see seniors step up too. But yeah everyone else on our team is looking really good.


Scarlet: How did you get into cross country?

Hull: My dad actually mentioned it and wanted me to try it out, so I was like, “All right. Fine.” I had played ice hockey before I went to high school. I stopped in high school, so I kind of had the legs, I guess you could say, for running, so I was like, “All right. What the heck, I’ll try it.” So I ran cross country and winter track my freshman and sophomore year, and then I just focused on cross country. The reason I like it is that there is a team aspect to it, but at the same time, you’re running against yourself. And I just like the feeling of being by yourself out there. Yeah, you have your teammates, but it’s a mentality where you’re focused on your time, and you just run and don’t have to worry about anyone around you. And it’s a nice feeling when you beat your PR. You feel proud of yourself, and it is nice crossing that finish line.


Scarlet: What’s your major?

Hull: I’m going to declare Communications as my major, and maybe a minor in Entrepreneurship, but I’m enjoying all my classes so far, I’m in Writing for Modern Media. I want to try and do something incorporating social media and photography because I like taking pictures. So maybe something along that career path.


Scarlet: How did you get into taking photos?

Hull: I actually got a camera for Christmas last year, and ever since then I’ve been kind of messing around with it. And when I was home I went to Philadelphia, because I’m from southern New Jersey, and just took pictures. I have an Instagram page, so I just really enjoy it. (Editor’s Note: You can follow Hull on Instagram at @ahull37)


Scarlet: What else do you like to do?

Hull: I like to listen to a lot of music. I like Grateful Dead, Phish a lot, Bon Iver. I’ve been to six Phish concerts. I went to two this past summer. And I listen to Phish when I run.


Scarlet: I can imagine that’s helpful. Their music has positive vibes.

Hull: Yeah I just kind of get lost in the jam as I go. And it’s really helped me get through, say, if it’s a really hot day, or if I’m really tired, it just propels me forward.


Scarlet: What songs by Phish do you like to run to the most?

Hull: Mostly the upbeat ones. “Tube” is a good one, “Bathtub Gin”…


Scarlet: Sounds good. So the next race you guys have is the James Earley Invitational on October 10. How was that last year?

Hull: It’s a race with a lot of teams, and a lot of NEWMAC teams are also competing. I actually don’t remember that much about the course. If you just put a course in front of me, I’ll just kind of run through it.


Read the recap of the Worcester City Championships to see how Hull and the rest of the men’s cross country team did last weekend!