Albion Marathoner Clinches First Victory Close to Home

Klingler achieved his maiden marathon victory October 15, at the 46th annual Detroit Free Press Marathon, crossing the finish line in an impressive 2 hours, 22 minutes, and 51 seconds.

October 17, 2023

Mitch Klingler, a graduate of Albion College in 2014 from Jackson, MI, has been immersed in the world of running for the better part of his life. His dedication to the sport, disciplined training regimen, unwavering family support, and a genuine passion for running have been the driving forces behind his achievements, both as a student-athlete at Albion and in his post-collegiate career as a marathon runner.

Klingler achieved his maiden marathon victory October 15, at the 46th annual Detroit Free Press Marathon, crossing the finish line in an impressive 2 hours, 22 minutes, and 51 seconds. In a thrilling performance, he outpaced the two-time defending champion, Ryan Corby, by a commanding 3 minutes and 10 seconds.

Klingler remarked, “I was feeling pretty good and confident going into the race. I had the goal set to win so we trained to be as fit as possible and be ready for whatever happened during the race. It was a really good feeling to cross the finish line first.”

Mitch Klingler and HayleeThe marathon route, certified by USA Track and Field (USATF), spans 26.2 miles, weaving through the heart of downtown Detroit and along the U.S.-Canada border in Detroit and Windsor, with two crossings of the Detroit River. Moreover, it’s a Boston-qualifying race.

The weather conditions for this year’s race were favorable, with a starting temperature of 46 degrees and winds at 15 mph.

What made this race particularly special for Klingler was its proximity to his hometown of Jackson, MI, and a modified training schedule. In February, Klingler and his wife, Cassie (Vince) Klingler, ’19, welcomed their first child, a daughter named Haylee.

“My wife, Cassie, has been amazing at letting me continue to train. A lot of time spent training and time away from my family is never fun,” added Klingler. “It was an amazing feeling, though, after the race when I was able to take my daughter into the finish line area and I got to hold her while they handed me my overall award.”

Mitch Klingler, Cassie and HayleeHis training is guided by Coach Karen Lutzke, who manages his daily workouts. A typical week includes a day for intense workouts and speed training, a long run, and the rest of the week dedicated to easy recovery runs. Adjustments are made as needed based on how he feels.

During his time at Albion, Klingler majored in kinesiology, was an active member of the Sigma Nu fraternity, and achieved success in both cross country and track & field, including competing in the NCAA Division III Championship during his first year. In his senior year, he secured second place in the MIAA Cross Country conference meet, only trailing his teammate, Paul Lewis. Later that year, he set a school record for the 5K in track and field in St. Louis.

Klingler fondly recalls the camaraderie and team trips at Albion, saying, “Spring break trips in Panama City, pasta parties during cross country, and the opportunity to travel with my closest friends are memories I’ll cherish forever.”

After college, Klingler served as an assistant coach for Albion’s Cross Country and Track & Field teams for three years. Currently, he works as a warehouse associate for Gross Stabil Corporation, a company based in Coldwater, MI, which manufactures caster wheels and glides for office furniture.

Klingler’s primary focus has now shifted. He remains an avid runner, but his main priority is his daughter, and he intends to savor every moment with her.

Klingler’s race schedule varies from year to year, but he typically selects two “key” races to concentrate on, with some occasional races interspersed. In 2023, Klingler has already competed in six races and might participate in one more.

His next significant race will be the U.S. Marathon Olympic Trials in Orlando, FL, scheduled for February 3, 2024.