Alumnus Joel Salazar finishes OKC Memorial Marathon sub three hours

Joel Salazar took 1st place in the 2018 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon in his division (Men’s ages 25-29) and 4th overall in the marathon. Joel now qualifies for the 2019 Boston Marathon.

(pictures above:  left - Joel running as part of the SCU cross country team; right - Finishing the 2018 OKC Marathon in under 3 hours.)

Joel, a graduate of 2013 and 2015, shared a few things about himself since graduation and reflected on the impact SCU played in his life. His advice to current students is something we could all learn from.

Years you attended SCU: I attended SCU from 2009-2013 and again from 2013-2015. 

 Year Graduated/Major: 2013 Bachelors degree in Behavioral Sciences, 2015 Masters of Ministry

 Activities you were involved in at SCUWhile at SCU I was involved in Music Theater, Soccer, Cross Country, Track and Field, Student Government, President’s Leadership Class, and Resident Life. 

 Current career: I’m currently working in healthcare. I work for Integris Southwest Medical Center/Integris Edmond as an emergency medical technician. I’m currently taking classes pre-med classes and on the road to medical school to become a physician

 Favorite moment from your time at SCU: It’s rather tough to pick just one, but if I had to pick a “most favorite” memory, it would have to be my senior year playing the role of “Rolph” in the Sound of Music. It was truly a special feel and experience to work with everyone on such a wonderful production. It was the first time I got to play big role in a musical so that made it very unique and exciting for me. The fact that my family was there to see the show and I got to take part in it with several good friends just made it that much more special.

 Some advice you would like to give current students: Looking back on my years since I graduated from SCU I can honestly say that I’ve grown and learned a lot since that 18 to 21 year old kid from those four years. Though initially I had my heart set on attending Oklahoma University fresh out of High school, I can’t say I regret my time at SCU as it was the foundation of my faith and when I first came to know God; that’s something I believe likely wouldn’t have happened at OU. 

That being said, the advice that I have for present students is that even though success, awards, and status is great and all, nothing will ever be more important than love and faith, as cliche as it sounds.

 I used to be that kid who wanted to do everything alone. I often trained alone, studied alone, rehearsed alone, and even did life alone. At least I always tried to. Most of it was insecurities and trust issues, but I learned the hard way in recent years through losses, frustrations, and just plain hardship in life, that though opening up and letting people in is risky, living life and trying to go it alone is spiritual and emotional suicide. People need other people, and That’s how we meet God and grow in our faith. I couldn’t have ever dreamed of running a sub three hour marathon and overcoming many demons in my life had it not been for really good friends and family to walk through the storms with. They made all the difference in the world, not just in running. Be careful about who you let in of course because bad company corrupts good character (something I also learned the hard way), but don’t let broken trust and past mistakes hold you back from a life with God, love, and community. So, appreciate the relationships you have now, because God may have something to say through them. Loneliness is a cruel and hard thing to live with.