Collegiate Runner turned Triathlete Shows Incredible Promise toward Tokyo 2020
Morgan Pearson (24 yrs) shocked the triathlon world in August 2017 when he won the USA Triathlon Age Group Sprint National Championships in Omaha, Nebraska – his first national triathlon. Even more remarkable than Morgan’s 1:45 margin of victory, was his blazing 14:15 5K run split, 21 seconds faster than 2016 & 2017 ITU World Triathlon Series (WTS) World Champion Mario Mola’s winning 5K run split at 2017 WTS Edmonton.
The March 2018 Mooloolaba ITU World Cup was Morgan’s World Cup debut; he finished 7th overall, one of the top debut World Cup performances of any American rookie. The result is especially impressive due to the fact that Morgan had no Continental Cup or other international race experience under his belt.
USA Triathlon’s Collegiate Recruitment Program focuses on identifying collegiate runners and swimmers who have the potential to develop into Olympic triathletes. On paper, Morgan’s athletic background fits the USA Triathlon mold. His running achievements and Omaha victory, especially considering he competed on a road bike versus a triathlon bike, validate his potential to succeed at the elite ITU level. All eyes will be on Morgan throughout the 2018 ITU race season to see his cycling skills develop and how his raw talent translates to Olympic-distance triathlon.
Omaha may have been Morgan’s first serious triathlon but he was not without serious athletic experience. Growing up, Morgan was a member of the club swim team and ocean rescue life guard in Spring Lake, NJ. He was the NJ state champion in the 3,200, earned All-American honors in the outdoor two-mile run and won the Penn Relays 3,000-meter run. Morgan competed one season at Duke for the track and cross country teams then transferred to the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2012. As a runner on CU Boulder’s Division 1 track and cross country teams, Morgan was a 7-time All-American and a member of the 2013/2014 NCAA cross country national title teams. He set the eighth fastest mark for a CU Buff in the outdoor 5K with a time of 13:36.22.
Following graduation in 2016, Morgan embarked on a professional running career and signed with 361 Degrees running shoes. Morgan’s best 2016 race was a 5K win at the Silicon Valley Trot, his time of 13:32 beat 2016 Olympic 10,000-meter runner Shadrack Kipchirchir by 4 seconds and qualified Morgan to represent the US in international competition. Injuries derailed Morgan’s post-graduate running plans, forcing him to take time off from racing. Putting his degree in mathematics and economics to use, Morgan employed himself as a tutor and also worked with The Feed, an E-commerce site for sports nutrition that focuses on cyclists and triathletes. The experience and recruitment by USA Triathlon led Morgan to consider the switch to triathlon.
Pearson – 2018 Race Schedule
Mar 11 Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup (Mooloolaba, Australia) 7th
Mar 16-17 Triathlon Australia Mixed Relay Invitational (Runaway Bay, Queensland) 2nd
Mar 26 New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup (New Plymouth, New Zealand)
Much more to come....