On Monday, April 16, Arielle Mitropoulos ’19 passed through the Wellesley Scream Tunnel for the fourth time in her elite running career and for the third time as a Wellesley College student. Several of Mitropoulos’ field hockey teammates continued their three-year tradition of running beside her while the proud cheers of the Wellesley community pushed her forward in the marathon.
“Running through the Scream Tunnel is such a pivotal point in the race because it means that I am halfway to Boston, and I am home. I can hear the Scream Tunnel from almost half a mile out, and running through Wellesley re-energizes me, making me feel as though I am starting the race all over again,” Mitropoulos said.
Mitropoulos first completed the Boston Marathon in 2015. She was a senior in high school and the youngest runner to qualify for the race that year. Completing the prestigious marathon had always been a dream of hers. “I am from Cambridge, and I have grown up watching the Boston Marathon. The marathon is such an important event to everyone from Boston, and since I can remember, it was one of my greatest goals to complete the Boston Marathon in my lifetime,” she stated.
However, her decision to run the marathon came far earlier than she initially expected. In 2013, Mimi Minkoff, Mitropoulos’ former teacher and close friend, was diagnosed with liver cancer. “From the time I was 10 years old, Mini Minkoff was one of the most important and influential people in my life. She understood me in ways almost no one else could, and for the many years I knew her, she offered me countless hours of support, laughter, and love. She was a second mother to me, a confidant, and a true friend,” Mitropoulos said.
When Minkoff passed away at only 52, Mitropoulos decided to run the Marathon in her honor. She has since completed the marathon a total of four times and raised nearly $30,000 for the American Liver Foundation.
One of the challenges that she faced while preparing for the 2018 Boston Marathon was balancing training with her already hectic schedule. Mitropoulos is full-time student at Wellesley College who is pursuing a double major in French and Political Science. This semester, she is especially busy captaining Wellesley’s field hockey team and interning at WCVB-TV Channel 5 Boston.
Julia King has been the head coach of Wellesley field hockey for the past seven seasons. She is constantly impressed by Mitropoulos’ ability to manage her many commitments. “I give Arielle a lot of credit not just for her physical endurance, but for her mental endurance. She is consistently setting goals, achieving them, and pushing forward. Sometimes it seems like she has endless energy… I think since Arielle has done it [run the Boston Marathon] three times already, sometimes we forget how big of an endeavor it is for her to do the training while being a full-time student-athlete. It’s pretty unbelievable,” King commented.
This heavy time commitment has not prevented Mitropoulos from excelling on the field or in the classroom. This fall, she earned several field hockey accolades, including being named to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) All-Conference Second Team and to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) DIII New England East All-Region Second Team. Mitropoulos is also a two-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference recipient, which is an awarded to student-athletes who maintain an overall GPA of 3.5 or above.
Mitropoulos finished the 2018 Boston Marathon in 4:25, a personal record. However, achieving a certain time has never been her first priority on race day. “The Boston Marathon is truly about the experience for me! I have so many friends and family I want to see along the route, and a stellar end time is not worth it if I do not get to see, stop and spend time with everyone I love!” she said. She explained that her primary goals this year were to “celebrate Ms. Minkoff and all the hard work that I have put into training during the past several months.”
Mitropoulos is incredibly grateful for all of the support she has received from the Wellesley community during her quest to complete a fourth Boston Marathon. “It feels so special to know I have all my friends, teammates, coaches and professors supporting me throughout the entire race. Their support helps me so much throughout my training and during parts of the race when I am struggling,” she said.
She encourages Wellesley students who dream of competing in the Boston Marathon, or in any other elite race, to start training. “Anyone can do it! It is definitely a big challenge, but there are so many people who compete in these races. If they can do it, why not you?” she asked.