On Tuesday evening, Jacob Frey won yet another race. As a former professional runner, winner of the 2008 Austin Marathon, and Team USA member in the 2007 Pan American Games, it’s something he’s used to. Except this week, he couldn’t rely on his legs, he had to rely on votes.
The 36-year-old member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party defeated the incumbent mayor, Betsy Hodges, and will take over leadership of the city next year. He began his political career after graduating from Villanova School of Law. During that time, he was sponsored by Saucony, and according to the Minnesota Star Tribune, ran up to 150 miles in a week at peak training. At the 2008 PanAm Games is Rio de Janeiro, he finished fourth in the marathon in an astonishing 2:16:44, his personal best at the distance.
A year later, he retired from running and landed in Minneapolis to pursue politics. On his website, he says he made the move after falling in love with the city after finishing the Twin Cities Marathon. He served as a member of the city council before winning the mayorship this week.
“When you’re at mile 23 of a marathon, success and failure is up to you. But in order to make it to that point, you have to do the legwork for months and months in advance,” Frey told the Star Tribune in a 2015 interview on the intersection of running and politics. “The same applies to pushing for any initiative or project for the city. There are good days and bad days, but as long as the [project] is in the right direction for the community, you feel good.”