On Monday, April 20, one of Boston’s biggests events will take place: the Boston Marathon. One of Wellesley’s own students, Katharine Conklin ’22, will be amongst the approximately 30,000 people running. Conklin has been running for about three years, explaining that she “… got into running about three years ago (spring of my junior year of high school). Before this I had never participated in cross country, track, nor anything like it. I used to hate running!” Not only is this Conklin first time running the Boston Marathon, but it is also her first marathon ever! Her purposes for running are not just for the sport, however. Conklin is running to fundraise for pediatric cancer.
The means by which she was selected for the race are unique and wholesome. Rather than the traditional time qualifications that participants must meet to race, Conklin applied through a charity and was selected to race for them. “I applied for a spot on Massachusetts General Hospital’s pediatric hematology-oncology team back in October and was lucky enough to be selected. This process involved submitting information as to why I am interested in running for their charity and how I planned to meet their fundraising requirement of $10,000,” she said.
After a close family friend was diagnosed with a brain tumor, she decided to fundraise for this organization. “The proceeds raised by me and my teammates will support clinical and laboratory research in childhood cancer; supportive care programs including wellness services; parent, teen, and sibling support groups; and child life specialists. I consider it an enormous privilege to run for such an awesome cause” said Conklin.
Conklin highly recommends future students interested in running the Boston Marathon do so. “I run to feel strong more than anything else. I’m not particularly concerned about being the fastest nor setting a personal record when I go out. Anything around a 9:15 mile pace makes me feel proud and accomplished.” She believes that anyone with the drive to run can do so, so long as they find something they believe in to motivate them. Currently, she is hard at work, constantly staying on top of her game and running with local groups. “I am training by following a program designed by Heartbreak Hill Running Company. They lead team runs out of their Newton location on Saturdays which I’ve been going to since the beginning of this (Spring 2020) semester. Aside from this, I do all of my running on my own,” she said. Her willpower to fundraise for pediatric cancer keep her on top of her physical health and constantly motivated to improve. However, it is an extraordinary time commitment, and those considering running should be aware of this fact. Conklin says that she “… spends so much time thinking about and training for the marathon that it feels like an extra class. […] If you are going to run on behalf of a charity, be sure it’s one you’re passionate about! On days when my training is especially hard, it’s important for me to remember and focus on why I’m doing what I am. The combination of MGH’s work, my love of running, and training efforts will fuel me on Marathon Monday.”
Note from Katharine: Right now I am fundraising to reach my goal of $13,100. If people are interested in donating, the address to my fundraising page is tinyurl.com/kathrunsboston and donations can be sent to the Venmo katharineruns26-2. I am running a raffle right now, leading up to Spring Break, featuring $50 to Alta Strada, $25 to Truly Yogurt, and $25 to Cafe Mangal.