James Eichberger, Eller Finance, Economics, and Entrepreneurship ’13
By Liz Warren-Pederson
James Eichberger just graduated in May, and he’s already setting records.
This summer, he ran the 800 meters in 1:45.88, breaking the Mexican national record and qualifying for the World Championships in Moscow, where he’ll be running for Mexico.
Eichberger has dual US-Mexican citizenship, and graduated from Catalina Magnet High School in Tucson before coming to the UA. He served as captain of the Wildcat track and field team, and as president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
“Track and field is more of an individual sport, which can have its positives and negatives,” he said. “What you put in is what you get out. Discipline, hard work, and perseverance are qualities you learn as an athlete that help in aspects of your life outside of sports.” In running, he pointed out, they have a saying – “do the little things” – like stretching, icing, and resting, that are crucial to success. “As in running, you begin to form habits of these little things that over time make a huge difference – it’s the same for academics,” Eichberger said. “If you read and do your homework consistently, you will be more prepared for your exams. These are the experiences from running I was able to use in Eller and in McGuire that made me achieve both academic and athletic success.”
Eichberger started as an economics major, but picked up finance as a second major after an introductory course captured his interest. “After deciding to take a fifth year due to eligibility for track and field, I was intrigued by the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program,” he said. “I eventually would like to open my own business and I thought a program of this caliber was my first step towards achieving that goal.” The mix proved to be a good one for him: “With economics being a bit theoretical and finance more statistical, it was a good balance. And to top it off, the McGuire Entrepreneurship program to combine everything I learned in Eller and use it in a real entrepreneurial setting really prepared me for any job.”
In the meantime, he’s focusing on his running career. “The professional running world is not an easy one,” he said. “Many runners aren’t able to make a living out of it.” Shoe sponsors are critical to the professional runner’s support, though the contracts vary from just gear to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Still, he said, “Life as a runner can be a beautiful one. You travel the world racing in amazing countries, and if you have the opportunity to make it onto the big stage like the Olympics, I have heard it’s an experience you won’t forget.”
Eichberger came just shy of making the 2012 Olympics in London, but has set his hopes on making the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Follow his journey on Twitter @jpeichberger
Top photo by Matthew Sonnenfeldt.