OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. — Mo'ath Alkhawaldeh finished fourth at the East Coast Conference Cross Country Championships and was named first-team all-league back in 2009. Now, the NYIT alum is aiming to become his native Jordan's first marathon runner to compete in the Olympics.
Alkhawaldeh has two degrees from NYIT. He earned a bachelor's in accounting in '09 and a master's in human resources and labor relations two years later.
He currently is training in California for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He needs to shave five minutes from his time, getting to 2 hours, 19 minutes, in order to be eligible and become the first Olympic marathoner from Jordan.
Alkhawaldeh spent his first two semesters of college on NYIT's former campus in Amman, Jordan. He then came to Long Island to compete in cross country.
"It was a great atmosphere we had back then," he recalled about his days in Old Westbury. "Even the coaches with different teams were supportive of us, and also our own coach and athletic director. It was a small community, and it felt like family for me when I was training there. They believed in me. They gave me an opportunity to study for free back on my ability to run fast. I'm still in touch with the majority of my professors and classmates from back then."
Alkhawaldeh recently was named a winner of the "Athletes in Excellence Award" by The Foundation for Global Sports Development. The award recognizes elite athletes who uphold sportsmanship and fair play on and off the field.
In 2015, Runner's World featured him as one of "The 50 Most Influential People in Running" for his peace-building work.
His aim is to encourage youth to participate in sport for peace and to promote young running talent.
Until coming to the United States this summer to train, Alkhawaldeh had been working in Jordan for Generations for Peace, an international organization that champions youth sports in regions with conflict and violence. He hopes to relocate to New York soon to continue training.
The Chicago Marathon on Oct. 8 also is on his itinerary. He has received invitations to run as an elite athlete in more than 15 international marathons, including in Beirut, London, Berlin and Hamburg.
He hopes, come 2020, to be an Olympic marathoner, too.