Hall of Fame

Ian Carswell
Track & Field

Graduation Year


Induction Year


Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

They say that records were made to be broken; yet fifteen years later, Ian Carswell’s name is still in the record books of Harvard track & field. Ian, a recipient of the 1997 Bingham Award presented to the best senior male athlete at Harvard University, still holds the record for the indoor 3,000m (7:57.03) and outdoor 5,000m (13:43.78) events, as well as the Distance Medley Relay. At the 1997 Indoor Heptagonal/Ivy League Championships, he was named the Athlete of the Meet, winning three events; part of an undefeated streak against all Ivy League opponents that lasted his junior and senior years. Ian, a four year letterwinner and four time NCAA All-American, captained both the cross-country and track & field teams. His top university finish was 3rd place at the 1997 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in the 3000m. Ian competed numerous times for Canada, and narrowly missed qualifying for both the 1996 and 2000 Canadian Olympic Teams in the 5000m. There’s just no denying it, Ian could fly around the track here at Harvard.

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

I am both thrilled and honored to join the company of distinguished athletes who have contributed to the long and rich tradition of excellence of Harvard Athletics. I am particularly grateful to be inducted tonight in the presence my fellow inductees, my family and a number of close friends and teammates, some of whom I have not seen since my days at Harvard. Since receiving the invitation to this evening’s ceremony, and particularly when writing this piece, I was taken back to my years as a runner, as well as my time as a college student. In retrospect, these two facets dissolve into the same image, as my career as a runner and student at Harvard are almost synonymous.

I started running competitively late in high school, and I had to stop prematurely, only a couple of seasons out of college. Consequently, the majority of my running career took place while I was a student at Harvard. Indeed, over two thirds of the races in which I ever competed in were run in a Harvard jersey. Further along, as a three-season athlete, competing in cross-country and indoor and outdoor track, there was never a time over my four years at the school that I could consider myself anything other than a student-athlete.

When I contemplate my time at Harvard, the initial and most vivid thoughts which come to mind, as I’m sure is the case for many of the other athletes assembled here tonight, include those of trekking over the Charles river and through the gate that... leads to the athletics area. I can still hear Chet Stone’s raspy and uncensored voice echoing through the hallways as I lay on Gary’s massage table in Dillon Field House.

Likewise, when thinking back to my competitive running days, my thoughts are monopolized by images of the trails along the Charles, or the nerve-inducing rubbery smell of Gordon Track. While the most vibrant of these memories are of racing in the crimson and white, the images for which I hold the most fondness are those of friendship, support, and laughter with the many teammates that I was fortunate to have had during my four years at Harvard.

It is to them that I extend my first thank you, as they played a significant role in the success that I had during my college years. I think of runners like Matt Bundle, who always knew what to say to evoke the right emotions before races; or Steve Kelts, my freshman year cross-country captain and first captain that I ever had in this sport, who showed me what the concept of team could look like in cross-country, a sport typically considered individualistic. There are countless other teammates who provided the intangible, yet entirely necessary element, for success in this sport; an acutely focused environment that fosters the belief amongst athletes that achieving one’s potential through sport can be one of the most intensely satisfying emotions that one can experience. And that somehow, despite all of the other things going on in such a complex and diversified university, our relatively small group knew that what we were doing on the other side of the River was something special.

The teammates that deeply brought this home to me, and who were indispensable to my success at Harvard, were my roommates, Killian and Danny. They showed me what passion for the sport of running really looked like. They inspired me to chase big goals, and gave me perspective on how this sport can enrich your life if you truly invest in it.

To my close group of friends that preceded my university years, many of whom who were gracious enough to travel down from Canada to celebrate this induction with me, I express my sincerest thanks. Support from this special group of high school friends took a variety of forms. Despite the obvious satisfaction they gained from spouting comedic material to degrade track and field athletes, I knew that I could rely on them as a pillar of support during both the good times and bad.

I also express my thanks to my high school coach, Richard Life, who started a track program in my 11th grade year, which gave me an opportunity to devote my passion for sport into something that I was finally good at. I thank Frank Haggerty, my Harvard coach, for recruiting me and taking me on a journey to the U.S. that I otherwise would not have made. Both of these coaches knew me well enough to realize that what they didn’t say and do as coaches was equally important to what they did, which takes courage, humility and talent.
Being a product of my environment, I look to my family as the place where I acquired the tools necessary to produce results on the track and in the classroom. Quantifying my gratitude to my parents, who set me up for success in all aspects of my life, is a monumental task. I thank them for giving me the freedom to explore my capacities in every physical endeavor imaginable. Despite a slew of stitches, breaks and sprains, they furnished me with a wealth of opportunities, along with the freedom and encouragement necessary to test my limits through these pursuits.

Of course, nothing could have inspired me toward achieving my goals, nor given me the level of competitiveness that ultimately became my greatest asset as a distance runner, than my older brother, Lindsay. He was the perfect accessory to my athletic development, providing an environment ripe with competition, bold goal-setting, and deep-rooted support. Chasing him around for as long as I can remember instilled an intense passion to compete. When I was able to beat him, I knew I had accomplished something.

I cherish the memories that I took away from Harvard. The experiences that I had, and the fascinating people I met at this university will be with me forever. They shape who I have become and I remain inspired to perform to the best of my abilities, both professionally and personally. The single most positive outcome of my time running in the NCAA is the relationship that was sparked with my wife, Krestena, then a runner at Villanova. At that time, and throughout my career, she motivated me to chase my dreams and test my limitations as an athlete. In the struggle to come to terms with the disappointment of not accomplishing our ultimate goals in this sport, our alliance only strengthened. Our parallel experience evoked a level of understanding between us that I cannot imagine living without. Even now, though my racing days are long behind me, she, the rest of her family, and my two beautiful daughters, Quinn and Micah, inspire me to live a purposeful and impassioned life.

I have been permanently shaped by my time at Harvard and the possibilities that it led to; a world of education, and opportunity, and I am extremely grateful to those who helped me get here. Thank you!