This year’s Boston Marathon will be held in less than a week’s time on Monday, April 20. The Boston Marathon is one of the six Abbott World Marathon Majors, which includes races in Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City. It is managed by The Boston Athletic Association and is sponsored by John Hancock Financial Services. The marathon is traditionally held on the third Monday of April and this upcoming Monday’s race will be the 119th Boston Marathon. The course is 26 miles and 385 yards long, starting on Main Street in Hopkinton, Mass. and finishing near the John Hancock Tower in Copley Square.
The Wellesley College community annually gets involved in the race in many ways. The community is excited to form its iconic Scream Tunnel at Mile 13 and cheer on runners with its energetic support and adorned signs. Many students also volunteer at a pasta dinner before the marathon and help organize the event. There will also be students and faculty running the marathon itself.
Among the Wellesley faculty running the marathon is the Director of Sports Performance and Fitness Rebecca Kimball. She has been preparing for the marathon since Dec. 15 and has been working on her training plan with a coach. Kimball is running for the Franklin Park Coalition charity. She has held fundraisers both on and off campus and has received a lot of support from the Wellesley College community. The new Keohane Sports Center facilities — in particular, the treadmills — have been very useful to Kimball and her training as it was difficult to train outdoors in the snow.
“I have run marathons in the past but I never thought I would have the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon, which I watched last year. Honestly, the feeling and the vibe that shot through me was something that I had to jump on and take advantage of this year,” Kimball said. “The thing that really gets me going is knowing when I start the race that at Mile 13, I am going to have hundreds of people, including student athletes and colleagues, cheering for me.”
On March 20, in preparation for the marathon, Kimball ran 21 miles as part of a large group effort from Hopkinton to Boston College. She sustained a left foot injury but has since been taking great care of it.
“The whole emotional support crew that I have at Wellesley is great. They have been checking in, making sure I am okay, especially when I get injured. They have given me the resources and motivation that I need to keep going. It is one of those things where it is like, ‘How many days left? How many days left?’ It’s been a pretty amazing process,” Kimball said. “I have a couple of numbers that I would like to hit but honestly, I focus more on the wellness aspect of the marathon. I really want to feel good during the entire race. I want to start and end feeling strong. Go Blue!”
Lydia Han ’18 is one of the Wellesley students who will be running the Boston Marathon. She has been preparing for the marathon by having a set schedule of waking up between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. every day and running six days a week. Most of her marathon training plans consist of shorter runs throughout the weekdays and one long run on the weekend which progressively has built up from eight to 20 miles. A varsity sprinter and hurdler in high school, Han gradually switched to distance running because of her affinity for the marathon lifestyle.
“I decided to run the marathon because I love pushing the limits of physical fitness and because I wanted to make running an even larger part of my life. I’m mostly looking forward to running through Wellesley. I think I’m supposed to give a lot of kisses, but I honestly don’t know if anyone’s going to want to kiss me when I’m that sweaty,” Han said. “I’m excited for the marathon, but I’m also pretty nervous. I’m mostly nervous for fundraising the $1,300 I have left to raise for the Natick Community Organic Farm Charity. As per Boston Marathon guidelines, any amount of the mandatory $4,000 that isn’t raised by the day of the marathon is taken out of my bank account, so I’m trying as hard as possible to finish fundraising by then.”
Reading books about inspirational runners and talking to other people who love running helped Han stay motivated in recent months. In January, when Han suffered a metatarsal stress fracture that has since healed, advice and encouragement from other runners kept her spirits up.
Wellesley student Holly Shreckengast ’15 will also be competing in the Boston Marathon and has been preparing for it since January in tough and snowy conditions. She has wanted to run the marathon since her first Marathon Monday during her first year at Wellesley. After her successful qualification time, she now has the opportunity to run it in her senior spring.
“When you’re passionate about something you don’t really have to motivate yourself. I love the feeling and the sense of discipline of knowing I pushed my body farther than I thought I could. So for me, running is just another part of the day,” Shreckengast said. “I am beyond excited. When I run by Wellesley and visualize the scream tunnel it’s a really powerful experience. I can’t wait for the actual race day.”
The Wellesley College community will be cheering on its runners and other participants in the Boston Marathon on Patriot’s Day.
Ivy Jiang ’18 is the Sports & Wellness Assistant Editor who is majoring in Economics. When she is not studying, she is probably following the NBA, reading, watching emotional films, eating or leisurely exercising. Feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Courtesy of JohnHankcock.com