Mixing All The Right Ingredients: Runner Marco Langon


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Marco Langon (pictured second from the right) helped lead team USA to a bronze medal at the World Cross Country Championships.

Jacob Artz, Staff Writer

When a chef is creating a dish, it is imperative that the right ingredients are combined to make a satisfying meal. 

Villanova freshman Marco Langon has two loves — distance running and cooking pasta. Both loves are made perfect with one key ingredient: confidence.  

February’s U20 World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Australia were the perfect example of Langon’s self-belief. 

Langon went into the meet looking to finish in the top-20. However, instead of saying he wanted a top-20 finish, Langon corrected the wording: he would finish in the top-20. 

“It felt familiar,” Langon said. “I tell myself that so much, it becomes, like, what’s one plus one?” 

For Langon, his mindset is simple. He is going to beat the competition. 

“Exactly, it just makes sense to me,” Langon said. “It didn’t feel any different than one plus one equals two. It’s like you want it, you train hard, you get the result.” 

However, Langon has one regret. He believes if he had set a goal of finishing in the top-10, he would have run to a top-10 finish instead of finishing in 19th. 

Langon wound up being the second American to cross the finish line in the scorching Australian dry heat, aiding Team USA to a bronze medal. 

His running career runs parallel to his love for cooking for pasta. It started when he saw his mom cook constantly, and once he started working in restaurants in high school, he was hooked. The same confidence Langon has on the track, he also brought to his job at the Village Brewing Company in Somerville, New Jersey.  

Nyime was one of his mentors with cooking in high school, who wanted to own a food truck, and Langon responded with the go-big-or-go-home philosophy. 

“I’m like, Nyime, when I become a millionaire, I’m going to buy you a food truck, and I’m going to work in the back with you,” Langon said. 

When watching TV cooking shows or chef Marco Pierre White, he knew he could contribute much to the industry. 

“When I was seeing all this stuff going on, I was like, ‘Wow, I feel like a could be one of the best chefs in the world,’” Langon said. 

When a meal is prepared, it takes time and attention to detail. Langon’s running journey progressed the same way, starting in gym class in eighth grade. He excelled at the mile, and when someone told him he should try track, Langon asked his mom for permission. She said yes. 

Langon immediately began challenging himself. As a middle schooler, he’d race the seniors in high school. He tried to keep up with them, but got beat, setting his passion to beating everyone. 

“The older kids, like the seniors, were just better than me, and I hated that, so I wanted to prove to my coach I was the best on the team,” Langon said. 

This passion paid off.

Langon remembers one person that compared him to New Jersey and Villanova’s own, Marty Liquori, who won the NCAA Championships in the mile three years in a row from 1969-1971 and was the third high schooler ever to break four-minutes in the mile, running to a time of 3:59.8. 

Langon played many other sports, including football, lacrosse, soccer and wrestling. Despite his running talent, he wanted to attend college to play lacrosse, not run. 

“You wanna be an athlete,” Langon said. “You don’t want to be a runner.”  

Despite progressing quickly throughout his high school career, Langon even fought against a certain type of running. 

“Cross country was kinda, like, a joke to me,” Langon said. “I didn’t take it serious. I thought it was more like a middle distance, miler, like, I wanted to be a miler.”  

During his senior year at Bridgewater-Raritan High school in New Jersey, a coach at another New Jersey high school, Red Bank Catholic, told him his future would be as a cross country runner and in running in the 5k. 

This advice spurred him to win the individual portion of the New Jersey Meet of Champions in cross country, where he won by a full seven seconds. Langon also holds the second fastest times in the indoor mile and 3200-meter race in New Jersey high school history. 

Like many other New Jersey runners in recent years, Langon chose to run at Villanova. It was a perfect fit for him, even though he never had an official visit. Langon looked up to other New Jersey runners, who he can now call his teammates, including junior Sean Dolan, sophomore Liam Murphy and sophomore Jack Jennings. 

However, there was a misconception that made Langon sure to run with the team himself before he made his commitment. 

“I thought [head coach] Marcus [O’Sullivan] didn’t like me,” Langon said. 

O’Sullivan is not going to sell Villanova to runners. He believes if a runner wants to come to Villanova, he or she will come because the accomplishments of the program speak for themselves. 

At Villanova, Langon has made major strides, including the top-20 finish at the U20 World Championships and a 13th place finish at the Big East Cross Country Championships. 

After redshirting for his freshman year in track, what are his goals for the future? 

The always confident Langon knows what he will accomplish already. 

“I want to break 13 minutes in the 5k as a junior,” Langon said. “I want to be a national champion. I want to be a national champion in track, cross country, indoor track, and I want to make the Olympic team. That’s, like, the goal. I know I will one day make the Olympic team. I will win a gold medal.”