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Running With A Purpose: From An Outlet For Grief To Breaking NCAA Track Records

CHICAGO (CBS) -- It took Dhruvil Patel a while to discover his passion, but now he's off and running. The local speedster is burning up the track in record fashion.

"When I first started I really didn't like it. It was painful more than anything. I couldn't run a mile-and-a-half without cramping or stopping," said Dhruvil Patel.

That was eight years ago when Dhruvil Patel was a freshman at Niles North High School. He had never run before. Now the senior at North Central College in Naperville is one of the best distance runners NCAA Division III has ever seen.

"Just to see the progress I have made is kind of astonishing. It makes me feel good about myself because I've set my mind to something," said Patel.

"What I saw right away with him was a passion. I think he's got great untapped talent. He's one of the silkiest, smoothest runners I have ever seen," said Al Carius, North Central College coach.

Dhru started running as an outlet in high school after his father passed away. His determination and inner strength has helped him earn four individual national titles. Three weeks ago, he broke a 42-year-old record running the 5,000 meters in 13 minutes, 51 seconds at the Stanford Cardinal Classic.

"My goal wasn't to break the record. Now, it's starting to hit me that it's a pretty significant record," adds Patel.

Dhru graduates in June, then he wants to run professionally, but first he has some unfinished business here. He'll run in his final National Championship in a few weeks.

"Next step I have been focusing on is winning another 10k national title and then winning another 5k national title, focusing on that double," said Patel.

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