They are somewhat unlikely heroes. Neither is a particularly classic of Head runner, but what they lack in style they make up in dedication.
The co-captains of the Harvard men's track team, Steve Ezeji-Okoye and John Perkins literally run themselves ask. In fact, they are renowned for having the weakest stomachs on the squad.
This winter, when they decided to see which of two "gives more" to the team, "I won hands down," Ezeji-Okoye boasts. "The day I lost it four times clinened it."
Although their dedication has taken extreme forms at times, the senior captains have been largely responsible for the success of the Harvard men's track team this year.
On the track, both compete in numerous events and score in almost every race they enter.
For the past four years, Ezeji-Okoye has dominated the hurdling events. The Kirkland House resident holds the University record for 55 and 110 meter hurdles and won the indoor. Heptagonal 55 hurdles in February. He set at Harvard and Heps record in the 400 hurdles at last Sunday's meet, qualifying for Nationals.
Though his specialty is the hurdles, he is also a talented 400 and 500 meter runner, and runs a leg in both the sprint relay and the mile relay.
Eike Ezeji-Okoye, Perkins is a multi-talented runner. Although his specialties are the middle-distance events, such as the 800, 1000 and 1500, he runs cross country in the fall and can run in the 3000 and 5000.
The Mater House resident is also a key member of the two-mile and distance medley relay squads, and took third in the 1500 at last Sunday's Heps.
While both are essential to the team as point scores, what distinguishes this duo is that ability to inspire other team members.
"I'm not into conducting cheering frenzies," Ezeji-Okoye says. "I just try to give the runners something to think about which will cause them to motivate themselves."
Their efforts are certainly appreciated by their teammates.
"They're very in tune with the team," senior Jim Herberich says, "They go out of their way to show that they care and it's nice to know that they're pulling for you."
One of the reasons Perkins and Ezeji-Okoye are able to maintain such a close relationship with their teammates is that their specialties are so different. Perkins is able to empathize with the distance runners, while Ezeji-Okoye can relate to the woes of the sprinters.
They complement each other not only in running strengths, but in personalities. Perkins takes everything but his running quite slowly, while Ezeji-Okoye is much more excitable.