On March 27th, Zach Michon ran a blazing time of 13:53 in the 5k race, shattering the Saint Joseph’s University record. The previous 5k record was 13:57, held by Steve Ave since 1986. Zach broke the record at the Penn Challenge, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania at Franklin Field. The 5k is twelve and a half laps around the track, equivalent to 3.125 miles. Zach averaged 4:28 per mile.

Zach Michon in 5k race at Franklin Field. Picture taken by Vincent Giordono.

Zach Michon is from Robbinsville, New Jersey and graduated Saint Joe’s in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Health Services (IHS). He came back for a fifth year to get his masters in healthcare administration, and to pursue an outdoor track season. 

Zach was having an extremely successful senior year racing in 2019-20, until the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled spring track season entirely. He won the 2019 Atlantic 10 Cross Country Championship in 25:02.7. The Five Mile Race was at Oatlands Plantation Park in Leesburg, Virginia, a brutally hilly course. At the 2020 Atlantic 10 Indoor Track and Field Championships Zach won both the One Mile Race and the 3000 Meter Race. He won the 3000 Meter Race in 8:26.12, then just one hour later won the 1 Mile race in a flying 4:12.96. Zach Michon was undefeated in the A10 his senior year.

We had the chance to interview Zach Michon about his record breaking race:

Zach Michon’s Men’s Cross Country Bio. Photo credit: Saint Joseph’s University Photography.
  1. How long have you had breaking the 5k record in mind?

I’ve had the 5k record in mind since sophomore year, and every year I got closer and closer. Covid cancelled my senior outdoor track season, so I came back for a 5th year because I had unfinished business.

  1. How did you feel before the race? What was your goal in the race?

The main goal was breaking 14:00. Before the race, I had a really good string of workouts, so I was pretty much certain that I could do it. I was confident and ready to finally race again.

  1. When was the last time you raced before this 5k?

Before the Penn Challenge 5k, the last time I raced was the final race of Indoor Track in late February of 2020, so over a full year. As I crossed the finish line during this race, I actually went to stop my watch, but I wasn’t wearing one. It’s been so long since I’ve raced, and I was so used to stopping my watch during workouts. It was pretty funny. 

  1. What was going through your mind during the race?

I was worrying about the splits and the pace, but I was right where I had to be the whole time. I was trying my best to keep motivating myself, and focusing on taking it one lap at a time.

  1. How did you feel after the race? How does it feel to have a school record?

After I crossed the finish line, I felt a combination of extreme excitement, and of course extreme pain. It felt amazing to finally break 14:00 and get the school record, it was a goal that I’ve had for a really long time.

  1. What are you excited for moving forward this season?

I’m excited for the Atlantic 10 Championship meet, regionals, and I think I have a real shot at making it to NCAA Nationals in Oregon. At A10’s I really want to complete the trifecta of being undefeated in all three seasons: cross country, indoor track, and spring track.

The 5k was not Michon’s first school record- he currently holds the Indoor 3000 meter race record (8:05) and he was the third leg on the Outdoor 4xMile Relay record (16:51). After his unbelievable opening 5k, Zach Michon has a promising championship season ahead of him. Wish Zach and the Hawks luck for the remainder of their outdoor track season, especially with the Atlantic 10 Championships on May 1st and May 2nd.

The track at Saint Joseph’s University where Michon practices. Picture taken by Max Kelly.