2008 Graduate Prepares to Run in Olympic Trials

Gian-Paul Caccia will compete in the trials in Houston in January.

By Magazine Staff  |  Illustration by Alex Fine
running illustration

As a high school senior, Gian-Paul Caccia, ’08, MBA ’09, ran his fastest mile at 4:56. When he ran a half-marathon this spring, he maintained that pace through the whole race, finishing with an invitation to compete in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Houston.

“I never thought I would run that fast,” said Caccia, a former cross country runner for Loyola who is looking forward to running his first marathon. When he competed at the New York City Half-Marathon March 20, he placed 26th overall and crossed the finish line as the eighth American in a group featuring former Olympians and elite international runners.

“There are a lot of pros in the race,” he said. “It’s tough to compete against them because this is their full-time job.”

Caccia’s full-time job, on the other hand, is working in the sales group for Wolverine Trading, a financial firm in his native Manhattan.

Running is a hobby—and now a part-time profession—Caccia picked up late in high school after an injury convinced him to stop playing baseball. When he enrolled at Loyola, he walked onto the cross country team and is still friends with some of his former Greyhounds teammates.

“Gian was one of the hardest working, motivated runners we have had here at Loyola, and he showed steady progress every year he was on this team,” said Head Cross Country Coach Rick Woods. “I am not surprised that he is running this well. This is really only the beginning for Gian.”

At Loyola Caccia completed his undergraduate degree in business, focusing on management information systems, and then stayed at Loyola to earn his MBA in finance.

Because he was injured his senior year, he still had a year of eligibility and ran with the Greyhounds as a graduate student. Now he applies his business and technical skills to his job selling software to traders.

Today, when Caccia isn’t at the office, he is running—whether he’s following trails through Central Park or along the city’s East River.

“I run with a post-collegiate group—the New York Athletic Club—here in New York City. It’s a pretty competitive group. It’s good socially and I have people to train with and hang out with after work.” The team is supported by a running company, Brooks Sports, so Caccia wears the company gear when he runs.

One of his New York Athletic Club teammates ran the half-marathon with him on March 20. They knew they had a chance at making the Olympic trials—if they ran the course in under 65 minutes—but Caccia wasn’t wearing a watch and the clocks set up along the streets for the runners to see were malfunctioning.

“They turned on around mile eight,” Caccia said. “I was trying to do the math in my head.” He could tell that the two runners were on target to finish well, but he wasn’t certain. When he finished at 1:04:46, he and his teammate could see from their time that they were both headed to the Olympic Trials—and a chance to compete in the London Olympic Games.

“The real test is the marathon. The U.S. picks the top three who finish, and those three go the Olympics,” Caccia said. His parents and some of his friends are going to travel to Houston to watch him run his first marathon.

“Although it will be difficult making the actual Olympics, I’m excited to have made it this far” he said. “It’s sinking in and I’m proud of it, but there are still more races to do along the way!”

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1 Comment

  • Posted by Miriam collado | August 2, 2011

    Good luck Gian!!!!

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