This Northeastern student was the fastest Bostonian at the Boston Marathon

A runner with a medal around his neck stands with arms crossed in front of the Boston skyline.
Mechanical engineering student Vinny Castronuovo was the fastest man from Boston at the Marathon on Monday. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Vinny Castronuovo, a Northeastern graduate student, was exhausted and sore after running 26.2 miles into a rainy headwind when his phone rang on Monday afternoon. It was Michelle Wu, mayor of Boston. 

She was calling to congratulate Castronuovo for winning the inaugural Fastest Bostonian Award at the 127th Boston Marathon.

It was only the third marathon of a young running career that he launched as a high school freshman in Carmel, New York.

“I had a feeling I’d be top three, top four, top five maybe [among the Boston men],” says Castronuovo, who will graduate next month with a master’s in mechanical engineering. “So that was pretty cool.”

Though Castronuovo, 23, wasn’t especially happy with his performance, his time of 2:25:56 was a personal best—two minutes faster than his Boston result of one year ago.

A closeup of Castronuovo's medal, saying 'Boston Athletic Association 2023, 127th Boston Marathon'
Castronuovo ran a personal best of 2:25:56 in harsh conditions. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Wu told Castronuovo that he would be invited to a marathon party this week. He and the women’s and non-binary winners will receive engraved glass bowls as Boston launches a new tradition of recognizing its runners in celebration of “the world-class excellence and diversity of our local running community,” Wu said in announcing the new award last week.

“Each of these athletes ran an incredible race,” Wu added on Monday. “I’m grateful to the B.A.A. [Boston Athletic Association] for joining with the City of Boston to recognize the incredible talent right here in our neighborhoods that is part of what makes this the greatest race in the world.”

Castronuovo has served for four years as distance captain and president of the highly competitive Northeastern running club, which last fall won its second straight National Intercollegiate Running Club Association men’s championship. Fifteen students from Northeastern Club Running competed Monday at the marathon.  

“Their families were there,” Castronuovo says. “I knew people along the whole course. And then wearing the Northeastern singlet, you see people who like to cheer for Northeastern. I think that helps. Every time I heard someone cheering, it was good.”

Evans Chebet of Kenya won the men’s race for a second straight year in 2:05:54, almost four minutes ahead of Eliud Kipchoge, arguably the greatest marathoner of all time, who finished his Boston debut in a disappointing sixth place. Castronuovo ran 16 minutes behind the fastest American, Scott Fauble, who was seventh overall at 2:09:44.

Difficult conditions—a constant headwind combined with rain that weighed down the runners—created a strategic quandary for Castronuovo. He set out to run each mile at 5 minutes 30 seconds but found himself rising to a faster pace in order to stay with the pack. His fellow runners helped block the wind but their speed also took something out of him.

“It was cool to see people that I recognize for being fast and running with them,” he says. 

After Heartbreak Hill, Castronuovo began to suffer physically at mile 22.  

“Keep looking forward and focus on your form—that pulled me through,” says Castronuovo, who finished 66th overall in the men’s race. “I didn’t want to look at the watch and see what was happening because I knew it wouldn’t help my mentality in that part of the race.”

One day later, his sore quadriceps—front thigh muscles—were bothering him, especially on staircases. 

“Aerobically, I felt completely fine,” he says. “But my legs, they couldn’t move as fast as I needed them to at the end of the race. So that’s something I can work on. I have a lot of reflecting to do on the race and thinking about what I want to do differently next time, like being more patient. I was maybe a little overconfident this time.

“But I’m not complaining at all,” says Castronuovo, whose future goals include reaching the U.S. trials for the 2028 Olympic marathon.

Castronuovo is finishing a five-year PlusOne program at Northeastern to earn undergraduate and graduate mechanical engineering degrees while also serving three co-ops. He believes his devotion to running is furthering his career pursuits.

“I think there’s a link between work ethic and academic success,” says Castronuovo, whose co-ops were in medical devices and environmental technology. “Based on the people I’ve met through the sport, a lot of people who have success in running are just really hard-working. And at the same time, running is a great stress outlet. It’s a good break to go run 20 miles and free your mind a little bit.”

Ian Thomsen is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @IanatNU.