If you’re anything like me, the idea of running for more than five minutes makes you want to cry.
So the thought of running for HOURS without stopping? That is something I cannot even begin to fathom.
When I moved Boston from Florida to attend Northeastern (2012), I had little to no idea what the Boston Marathon was. Sure, there are marathons all the time, all over the world. What’s so special about the Boston Marathon? And why are we taking the day off of classes for it? (Not that that was anything to complain about, though…)
I didn’t celebrate my first Patriots Day at Northeastern. (For those of you not familiar, Patriots Day is the day of the Boston Marathon. People of Boston fill the streets to watch the Marathon, and use it as an excuse to day drink. You may tailgate for football games, Boston tailgates for the marathon.)
I spent my first Patriots Day at Emerson College, seeing a show that a friend from high school was in. Halfway through, someone interrupted the performance to tell us there had been a bombing at the marathon. We were ushered into a dorm building and stayed there for many hours until the streets were deemed safe to walk on. The way the city of Boston came together throughout that next week made me realize what a special city I had moved to. And over the past few years, Patriots Day has come to be one of my favorite holidays (because of the excitement in the city, not the day drinking 😉 ).
Photo via cageplus.com
You cannot help but be inspired by the runners of the Boston Marathon. Traveling from all over the world, runners of all races, genders, and ages come together to race in our beautiful city of Boston. And you best believe that there are some amazing college students running the Boston Marathon tomorrow. Hannah Fusaro (Boston University ’18) and Lexi Prather (Northeastern University ’17) are two of them. I had the pleasure of interviewing them before the big day.
My first question may be an obvious one. How do two college students end up in the Boston Marathon? Where did their journey begin? Hannah, a Dietetics major, started running cross-country during her sophomore year of high school, and later did her first half marathon. It was then that she discovered her love for long distance running and ran her first full marathon senior year of high school. Hannah qualified for the Boston Marathon this year by just over 5 minutes while running her second marathon in Hartford, Connecticut. NBD.
Lexi, a Human Services major, considers herself to have always been an active person but never a long distance runner. When she started training for the marathon in December, she hadn’t run more than 6 miles. So for all ya’ll that don’t think you have a marathon in you… if Lexi can do it, you can too.
To get in to the Boston Marathon, you must either qualify by time or raise money for an organization. While Hannah qualified with her impressive time, Lexi is running for buildOn, which empowers urban youth in the U.S. to transform not only their own neighborhoods, but the world through community service. Lexi says, “They work they do is incredible and impactful and I am happy I have the opportunity to share that with my own network of family and friends.” She was introduced to the org when the President & CEO came to talk to her Global Social Entrepreneurship course this past fall. See, going to classes has its benefits sometimes!
Training for the Marathon requires hard work, dedication and a whole lot of passion. Hannah says that the best part about training are the runs that she feels like she could go forever without stopping. “These runs show me that all the hard work I’ve put in so far is paying off, and the sense of accomplishment following these runs is incredible.”(Can you teach me to run like this Hannah?? Help!!) Lexi also points out that training for a marathon gives you no option other than to workout — it’s not like you can just sign up for a marathon and run all 26.2 miles the next day. Lexi loves the pressure to workout because it makes her feel incredibly healthy.
But don’t get these ladies wrong, there have been some tough times during the training. Long runs are no picnic when outside temperatures are below freezing and you have a 15 mile run ahead of you. It often takes them a great amount of time to mentally prepare themselves to get out the door. Once they finally make their way to the street, both students agree that long runs are a mental game.
Hannah explains that, “In this sport, mental toughness is what will get you through those hard runs and then go out and do it again the next day. When I’m doing my long runs, I remember that I have done this before and I know I am capable of it and the work that I am doing now is getting me to my goal in the race.”
Lexi echoes that same sentiment…”Knowing that it will make the actual race that much easier and thinking about how great I will feel after. Each long run I have done, has been the longest run yet. So on Monday I will run the longest I have ever run in my life, and that is a pretty great way to get me through.”
You might be wondering how Hannah and Lexi had time to train for the marathon when you barely have time to make it to the gym for 30 minutes. Hannah says it’s been easy to find time for running since it’s something she loves so much. Running is a huge stress reliever for her, so it’s the perfect way to wind down after a long day of classes. As for Lexi, her secret weapon is her support team. Her supervisor at work is running the Marathon with her so having someone by her side makes things a whole lot easier.
Moral of the story? Find fitness you love, and find a kickass workout buddy to do it with.
Training for a marathon is no easy feat. What have Hannah and Lexi learned throughout the process? Hannah’s answer is one that can be applied to all aspects of life, way beyond running. She says, “running is a sport where you will get out exactly what you put into it. If you want to do well and you want to see the results, you have to put in the work and run the miles. No matter how hard it can be, if you set your mind to a goal and work toward it, you really can accomplish anything.”
Lexi’s response is one that makes me even consider wanting to train for a marathon (maybe…). Here’s a little bit of motivation for you to leave with. Lexi says, “When I tell people that I am running, so many respond that they could never run a marathon, but I disagree! I have learned, that as long as you are physically able and healthy, it really starts with one choice at the beginning. I decided I was going to and then I had to train.”
Best of luck to Lexi, Hannah and all of the runners of the Boston Marathon. You are an inspiration to us all and we’ll be cheering for you every step of the way – literally!