LA Marathon Profile: Giovanni Policarpo

 Santa Monica College student Giovanni Policarpo poses on the track on SMC main campus on March 9, 2018. Policarpo will be running in his third LA Marathon on March 18, 2018 and hopes to achieve a personal best finish time of under three hours. (Photo by: Helena Sung)

Santa Monica College student Giovanni Policarpo poses on the track on SMC main campus on March 9, 2018. Policarpo will be running in his third LA Marathon on March 18, 2018 and hopes to achieve a personal best finish time of under three hours. (Photo by: Helena Sung)

Twenty-year old SMC student Giovanni Policarpo is not what you would expect from someone getting ready to run their third marathon in as many years. He doesn’t have a strict diet that he adheres to. He doesn’t stress out about how much protein he needs to consume, or how many calories his meals contain, in fact, the last thing he plans on eating before the big day is a cup of instant noodles. But make no mistake, he is young, athletic and as competitive as they come. 

Policarpo’s love of running began in his senior year at Ánimo Venice Charter High School, when he joined the cross-country team and his teacher/coach mentioned to him that he should join Student’s Run LA (SRLA), an organization that “provides a free school-based mentoring and physical fitness program for at-risk middle and high school students in the greater Los Angeles area.” 

Policarpo said he joined cross-country in his final year of high school because “It’s my last year of high school and I just wanted to join a sport before I leave high school.” He decided on joining cross-country because he loves to compete. 

"That’s what got my attention, because I always like to compete with other people, ever since when I was young… and I thought that cross country was the best sport to compete with people from other high schools,” Policarpo said. He preferred cross-country over team sports because he prefers to compete on an individual level. That competitiveness is a large part of what motivated him. “It’s been in me since a long time. I don’t want to show it but I just want to prove myself, that I can beat other people, which I can,” Policarpo said.

He ran his first marathon in his senior year of high school. He looks back on that first attempt and laughs. “The first marathon that I did, it didn’t go so good as I wanted it to be, cause my goal was to finish in like five hours at least because it was my first one," he said. "The thing that messed me up is that I kept getting Ice cream from each stop and it messed up my stomach.” Despite having an upset stomach, he still completed the marathon, with a finish time of six hours and forty-four minutes.

His second marathon went much better, as he finished in three hours and fifty minutes, though he believes there is still room for improvement. As for this marathon, Policarpo said, “My goal is to finish in two hours and fifty minutes. I will try, I don’t know if it’s possible for me.”

He also said that this may be his last marathon because “it’s really hard. It’s really, really hard. That’s all I can say. You have to train a lot just to keep up and finish.” 

So, what motivates him to run the marathon? “What makes me do it is that it’s going to stay with me until I get older, and I’m just going to think about what I accomplished when I was younger. That’s something that I really want to think about.”