Feb 18, 2020

Jonathan Aziz Shows Why Balance Leads to Success

By Davis Baker

Running may not be rocket science, but Jonathan Aziz can get excited about both. 

After completing a successful track career and an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering at Syracuse University, Aziz headed west to the University of Colorado to get his Ph.D. He also joined the Boulder Track Club and began competing in 2016. 

Aziz now works at The Aerospace Corporation as a missions design and astrodynamics analyst in Colorado Springs, CO. When he is not running, Aziz is focusing on solving high-level analytical problems. Some of the key responsibilities of his job include designing new missions and capabilities to ensure the U.S. can defend, fight, and win in the space domain.

Despite having a full work week, he does not see work as a distraction or even a compromise with running. Aziz said that it would help his running if he were to only work 20 hours a week as opposed to 40 or 50, but does not want to sacrifice his career goals either. 

“It’s having both of those things that kind of define who I am,” said Aziz. “I don’t think I would want one without the other.”

Aziz is coached by former CU track star Clint Wells, who describes Aziz as very disciplined and believes that this allows him to be successful both with work and running. 

“He’s very patient and knows what he wants and is willing to work hard to get it in almost anything he does,” said Wells.

At the 2017 California International Marathon, Aziz made his marathon debut and, to his surprise, qualified with time to spare, running a 2:16:38. 

“It was a big unknown for me. I didn’t know if I would be looking at trials qualifying time or 2:25:00, just because it was my first time out at it,” Aziz said. 

Aziz ran the California International Marathon again in 2018, but those are his only two marathons to date. He has run half-marathons in both Houston and New Orleans to prepare for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon, but knows getting marathon experience is still crucial, especially at a challenging course in Atlanta.

Aziz has set two main goals for himself at the Trials. He aims to finish in a better place than where he is seeded, currently 58th, and also would like to set a new personal record. He feels that he is in peak shape right now and wants to use his performance at the Trials to continue to build his growth as a runner. 

“I hope this isn’t my last Olympic Trials,” he said. “I’m going to keep doing it,...I’ve always been competing. I don’t think I’m going to enjoy not competing and just jogging around, so I am going to keep at it.”

Leading up to the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon, Atlanta Track Club partnered with the Grady Sports Media program at the University of Georgia to profile some of the competitors in the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials. The authors of these stories are undergraduate students enrolled in the program and have been lightly edited by the Club. See all of the stories at https://www.atlanta2020trials.com/news/uga-trials-project.