Cougar of the Week: Tom Alden

Tom Alden (‘20) of the Men’s Cross Country Program was selected for his commitment to both Clark Athletics and academics.


Sara Conroy, Sports Editor

Scarlet: What brought you to Clark?

Alden: A good friend of mine told me about Clark, which I hadn’t heard of before. I took a couple of tours and I liked it. Clark had a good academic reputation, and still does. Towards the beginning of my senior year, the Head Cross Country Coach at the time, Coach William Gray sent me an email showing interest in me to run at Clark on the Cross-Country team. I decided to do an overnight with a member of the team, and I was able to get a feel for what life at Clark was like, both socially and academically. I was able to sit in on a Management class, which was my idea for a major; and I was able to follow the lecture and learn some interesting concepts that tied into what I was learning in my high school business classes at the time. Coach Bill Gray really gave me a great opportunity which I am glad to have taken. All of these factors combined, along with the overnight giving me a real insight into university life, were the reasons that brought me to Clark.

Scarlet: Do you have a favorite thing to do on the Clark campus?

Alden: This is a tough one. I would have to say it’s between a couple things, eating with friends in the dining hall and/or bistro; and meeting with the Entrepreneurship Club (I’m currently the president this year) to have some interesting meetings and plan some great events and programs for Clark students.

Scarlet: How has this season been going? Is there a meet you are most looking forward to and why?

Alden: This season has been a rough start for me compared to my previous seasons, but after a few races I’m steadily improving and starting to hit my stride. We also have a new coach this year, Joseph Pike, who has been doing a great job so far. He’s connected with everyone on the team, and has been a great help to try to get everyone to reach their potential. I’m looking forward to NEWMACs, it is one of our biggest meets of the season, and I believe that we have a strong team this year. We have some fast-new guys this year, and everyone on the team is working hard. NEWMACs is going to be at Smith College this year, which was where I ran my first collegiate race, so it will be nice to run the course again. Overall, we have a lot to forward to as a team, and I know that we are capable of doing well at NEWMACs this year.

Scarlet: Do you have any athletic aspirations? Like anyone, in or out of our sport, who inspired your athletic career?

Alden: I do have some athletic aspirations when it comes to running. After I finish school, I would like to continue to pursue distance running. I don’t plan to run full time, but to train on the side and still compete. I’ve been thinking about running distances between 10K’s and marathons. I want to keep improving, and keep running. My father has always been a huge inspiration for me in terms of running. He was a great runner back when he was running Cross Country and Track in college and races after college as well. He was one of the best on his team at Brown University starting in 1987. After he graduated, he competed on the international level, running marathons in Japan, Sweden, and Russia competitively. He would finish within the top group for many of the races, and I’ve seen his medals. Knowing what my father was capable of, and the encouragement that he has given me, continues to inspire me to keep going, and go for it. I remember my first day of Cross Country in 6th grade, when I was walking to the bus when my mother came running up to be, handed me a pair of running shorts, and told me “Your running Cross Country! I just signed you up!”. Since that day, I have loved the sport, and have developed a love for running. I was also born with a muscle disorder, which caused me to start walking much later than most, and I had to have physical therapy to help me to start. Knowing that, and looking to what I’m doing now, shows me what I’m capable of.

Scarlet: Do you think you’ll keep running when you leave Clark?

Alden: Absolutely. I want to continue running competitively and move to longer distances up to a marathon. I’ll keep running as long as I’m able to. My Grandfather on my father’s side kept running into his 70’s, and to this day still holds the 5K course record for 70 and over at the Chilmark Road Race. If he can do that, why shouldn’t I? Perhaps I can have a run at it if I’m still able.

Scarlet: Are there any quirky talents, party tricks, or fun things you like to do in your free time?

Alden: I like to draw in my free time. It’s a nice calming activity to wind down.

Scarlet: If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go? Why?

Alden: I would go to Berlin, Germany. I went there over the summer when I studied in history and political science in Poland and Germany. Berlin was a surreal place, a very iconic European city. It’s difficult to describe how surreal it really is, but it’s one of my favorite places.

If you would like to nominate a Cougar of the Week, you can stop by our Pitch Meetings on Wednesday’s at 8pm in the Maywood Lounge to put in a good word for a Cougar you know!