Every fall, 25-year-old fourth-year medical student Jordan Tropf picks one or two marathons to run. He says it is something he likes to do, to see how fast he can go. “Running is something I look forward to at the beginning or end of every day,” he says. “It gives me an opportunity to push myself outside of medical school.”
A native of Cleveland, Tropf attended the Naval Academy before moving to Baltimore to attend medical school at The Johns Hopkins University. When he graduates in May, he aspires to do a residency in either a military or a civilian orthopaedic surgery program, and then serve as a doctor in the U.S. Navy. “I’m familiar with orthopaedic injuries from years of running, and exposure to orthopaedics in the military,” he says. “It’s also been great to see the amazing impact that surgeries and rehab have on patients’ lives.”
Tropf ’s high school cross-country team won the state championship during his senior year and he continued running while at the Naval Academy, where he realized the 26.2-mile marathon was his favorite distance. He now considers Baltimore his home, and being in his final year of medical school, he decided to try out his “hometown” race: the Baltimore Running Festival.
Over the summer, he found it challenging to pursue his passion for running while in orthopaedics rotations at the country’s three big Navy hospitals. ”I tried to build in a run every day and get out on weekends for longer distances,” he says. “I did a lot of running in the dark.”
His training paid off. On Saturday, Oct. 21, he put on his race jersey—a blue Navy singlet that he wears for every race—and turned his attention to the 2017 Baltimore Running Festival finish line. Though it was his first time competing in the city’s biggest footrace, Tropf won the marathon with a time of 2 hours, 29 minutes, 6 seconds. “I knew what to expect, I knew the hills were coming, but it started to work me a little bit. After the second half of that course, I was very, very happy to be over the finish line,” he says. “There was so much support on the course. It goes down in the books as one of my favorite races, and I can certainly see myself coming back.”
Where will Tropf run his next race? With his sights set overseas, he says he eventually wants to hit all six major world marathons, like those in London, Berlin and Tokyo, while continuing to drop his time. “The big thing about running is that I do it for fun,” he says. “My priorities are being a good med student and, in the future, being a great doctor. I definitely intend to continue running and dropping my times, no matter what my future holds.”