(by Nick Delahanty, Felician College Sports Information Student Assistant)
Even with his collegiate cross-country career completed, Rob Albano (Pompton Plains, N.J./Pequannock Township) has found ways to continue to keep his passion for running alive.
After an illustrious career full of awards and records at Felician College from 2009-12, the three-time All- CACC selection and two-time CACC Runner of the Year found that he needed to find ways to continue competing.
"As soon as my eligibility was complete, my last semester I stayed on at Felician as a volunteer assistant coach," said Albano. "I was still running and training with the team as if there was a cross-country season coming up, so I had to figure out what I was actually training for."
Albano began exploring different events of which could possibly partake. His research led him to the Self-Transcendence Marathon, which was scheduled to take place in late August 2013 at the Rockland Lake State Park, just about 40 minutes away from his house.
Albano felt it was a low-key marathon that he could run as a "trial and error" type of race. He went about training the same way he would as if he was preparing for cross-country season, averaging about 90 miles a week for the five months he trained leading up to the marathon.
The training paid off, as he won the marathon by nearly 14 minutes. Despite the margin, he found the race to be a bit of a challenge.
"I couldn't run for two weeks after the marathon," Albano said. "I never experienced such pain as I did when crossing that finish line. Marathons are different beasts then the 8Ks and 5-mile races I did at Felician, and that one did a big number on my body."
From there, Albano entered the PCRC Winter Series, which is a series of 5K races that take a participants combined times and add them together, giving the awards out to the top total times. After this event, Rob entered and won the Apple Chase 10K, the Susan Zabransky 5K, the Miles for Mike 5k, and the Run for Marge 5K, setting a new course record at each of the given races. He currently is training for more events while running for a club running team called Sneaker Factory.
In the spring, Albao took on a new challenge dealing with his passion for running, as he became the Head Boys Track Coach at his alma mater at Pequannock High School. Under his leadership, the team had their best season in many years, as the 4X800 team set a new school record and also qualified for States.
"The team is rebuilding, but I have a very young and talented squad," Albano said. "I am very optimistic about the future of the program moving forward."
This upcoming fall, Albano will also step back into the classroom, but this time as a teacher. A product of the teacher education program at Felician, Albano posted a 3.8 GPA while earning two Capital One Academic All-American Awards. He will teach 8th grade Science at Macopin Middle School in West Milford.
Albano also will be coaching year-round, as he will stay on as the Pequannock High School track coach while also accepting a position to become the West Milford High School winter track coach. He also plans to continue serving as an assistant for the Felician cross-country teams.
"I've always wanted to be a coach, and the easiest way to get my foot in the door was to become a teacher," he said. "I've always liked science, so I will be able to teach a subject that I love while also fulfilling my passion of coaching cross-country and track athletes."
When it comes to his success, Albano realizes that he put himself in a great position to succeed through Felician College. Both on and off the track, Albano feels that his college career helped lead him to where he is today.
"When I was searching for a college, I was mainly concerned with finding a good cross-country program, which Felician had at the time," he said. "I was also lucky that Felician has a great teacher education Program; the program is excellent and has helped me fulfill my goal of becoming a full-time teacher and a coach."
As the numbers are etched into the Felician College Athletics' record books, Rob Albano continues to find ways to keep his passion for running alive. It is safe to say that his running career is far from the finish line.