Columbia alumna Delilah Dicrescenzo has always wanted to be defined by her running talent.
We first knew her as a three-time Ivy League women’s steeplechase champion and conference record holder back from 2003 through 2005. And then we continued to follow her when she competed after graduating in 2005. We got that, and we got her.
So it doesn’t come too much of a surprise when she opened up to ESPN recently about the impacts of a little song had on her. She saw a way to allow the success of her inspiring the tune “Hey There Delilah” by the band Plain White Ts to help showcase herself as a runner.
To be honest, the publicity was distracting me from my running, but at least it was good PR. It brought attention to my sport and let me talk about my running career…
And then came the Grammys. Tom [the songwriter] invited me, and [my boyfriend, fellow runner and Columbia grad Will Boylan-Pett] was fine with it. Feb 8, 2008, ended up being one of the greatest days in my life. It was so much fun, despite being so out of my element. I swapped my sports bra and running shoes for a glamorous dress and expensive jewelry that, unfortunately, I had to return. I walked the red carpet, celebrated the song, supported the band and met some amazing people. I was living it up.
The song gave my profile a boost, but my running had to speak for itself. That process began just after the Grammys when I was chosen to represent Team USA at a relay race in Japan. I really broke out that May, when I finally achieved the Olympic Trials — the 3000 meter steeplechase. That validated me as a runner. I could now back-up my funny bio with substance. Later that month, Puma signed me. My first sponsorship put me over the edge…
I’m proud of my accomplishments since the song blew up [in 2007], and I’m now in a place where I can fully enjoy the song. I’m a lucky girl. If it wasn’t for me, I’m sure Tom would’ve been inspired by a different girl and written an amazing song about her. As far as I’m concerned, I was in the right place at the right time and met the right person — just the luck of the draw.
This past weekend, Dicrescenzo earned her second Team USA berth in cross country by placing 6th overall (see image) and she will compete at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Poland.