First-year Classmates Win All-Male Relay in Duke City Marathon

Duke City Marathon
The team presents their medal to Dean Kevin Washburn. From l-r: Nick Davis, Matt Landess, Dean Washburn, Justin Nyberg, Thomas Grover, Matthew Bernstein.

The classmates might be new to the law, but they showed their running prowess when they took first place in the All-Male Relay Team division at Albuquerque’s premier running event. This showing earned them fifth place overall, out of 124 relay teams. A UNM ROTC team was the only UNM team that bested the UNM School of Law team, and by only a little more than two minutes. The law school team went by the easy-to-remember name, UNM School of Law.

Through the generosity of Diane Albert (`07), who sponsored the law school team, the runners sported stylish racing jerseys.

The intention was set during orientation before the semester began. Grover, who organized and captained Duke City Marathon teams during his time with the Albuquerque Police Department, was already recruiting before his classmates had met their law professors.

“I had the idea of fielding a law school team because of what I had done with APD over the previous years,” he said. “These guys were immediately excited about it. They were excited about participating and representing the school but also to race against the field of competitors.  When I told them about the law enforcement teams that usually run, we were all very excited to make that as our goal – to beat them.”

Did they meet their goal? “We crushed them,” said Grover.

Marathon JerseysThe classmates trained on their own, but they met the night before the marathon at the Tomato Café for some serious pasta carbo-loading and strategizing. They estimated it would take three hours and 20 minutes to complete the course; they came in just under three hours and five minutes.

In November, team members presented Dean Kevin Washburn with their winning medal, which they hope will be displayed at the school to inspire a tradition of participation and winning in future Duke City marathons. For starters, they plan to return next year and bring in a time well under three hours. At the race, they expect to see classmate Cory Kalm, who took fourth place overall in the 2011 event.

A little about the UNM School of Law Duke City Marathon team:

Matthew Bernstein
Matthew Bernstein spent four years teaching at Amy Biehl Charter High School in Albuquerque after earning his master’s in history at UNM. At the UNM School of Law, he is interested in social justice and writing. He enjoys the unique way of thinking in the law and looks forward to crafting his legal writing skills.

Nick Davis
Nick Davis spent time teaching at the university level in China, working on the legislative staff of Tom Udall (`77), then a U.S. congressman, earning a master’s degree in international environmental policy in London and creating websites for an education firm in Denver before returning home to attend the UNM School of Law. His father, Phil Davis (`78), is a longtime Albuquerque civil rights attorney.

Thomas Grover
Thomas Grover left a well-paying corporate job in 2004 to join the Albuquerque Police Department, inspired in part by the events on Sept. 11, 2001. For six years, he was on bicycle patrol, a position he relished. Last summer he was promoted to sergeant. Grover completed a master’s degree in public administration at UNM last spring and now looks forward to adding a J.D. to his resume. He is passionate about civil rights and tort law.

Matt Landess
Matt Landess spent 14 years in sales and moved to Albuquerque in 2006. He spent six years in the U.S. Army and the last three with the New Mexico Air National Guard. In a previous job, he worked with a lawyer and found it to be interesting. Now, he’s discovering for himself how interesting a career in the law could be.

Justin Nyberg
Justin Nyberg left a career as a journalist for law school. After spending more than three years as a reporter with the San Francisco Examiner, he moved to Santa Fe to join the staff of Outside magazine. Six years later, he moved with his partner, Leah Gallant, to Albuquerque, where they are both first-year students at the UNM School of Law. He was ready to broaden his skill set and so far is interested in water law and environmental practices.

December 1, 2011