This year the John Hancock Boston Marathon Non-Profit Program awarded Endicott’s Keys to Degrees Program three entrees into the 2013 Boston Marathon, with the understanding that the three recipients of the racing bibs would raise a minimum $5,000 each to benefit Keys to Degrees Scholarships. The team collectively raised $16,505 – above and beyond the original goal of $15,000!
Our inaugural team was so successful that we hope John Hancock will grant us with the opportunity again for the 2014 race; more information will follow later this summer as we learn more. Additional questions regarding the Endicott team should be directed to Renee Fraker, primary liaison for the Keys to Degrees Boston Marathon Team, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-232-2019.
Of course, any conversation about the 2013 Marathon will have the shadow of the bombings attached to it, and our runners are no different; but as you can see there is so much more to the experience. We sat down with James Daley, Assistant Athletic Trainer, Amanda Finnegan, Administrative Assistant to the School of Business, and Dr. Mark Herlihy, Associate Dean of Arts & Sciences, to talk about all things Marathon. We are so proud of their accomplishments and are very much looking forward to doing it again next year!
What did you enjoy most about fundraising for the Keys to Degrees Scholarship Program through the John Hancock Boston Marathon Non-Profit Program?
JD: The portion that I enjoyed most about fundraising was the ability to educate others about the great work that is being done through the Keys to Degrees Program at Endicott College. Meeting, sharing experiences with, and interacting with the Keys to Degrees Program students and their families throughout our campaign really made it special. Endicott is a very tight-knit community and the support that the marathon team received from all areas of the College was quite motivating. Also, the camaraderie that I felt and shared with the entire team (e.g. organizers, runners, administration) was awesome; pushing each other in all the aspects of commitment.
AF: What I enjoyed most about fundraising for the Keys to Degrees Scholarship program was reaching my goal and knowing that the amount of money I had raised will help one of the young families living on Endicott’s campus. Education is extremely important and is difficult to finance; having a child makes it feel that much more out of reach. The students in the Keys to Degrees Program are extremely strong and dedicated to creating a better life for their children and themselves. During my fundraising efforts, I hosted a fundraising event that rose over $3000 in one night!
Many people train for their first marathon, but not everyone trains for the Boston Marathon and fundraises for a non-profit program along the way – describe this experience.
AF: The Boston Marathon has an extremely rich history and it was an honor to be a part of it this year. It has always been a bucket list item for me so when the opportunity presented itself, I knew I had to be a part of it. This was my first marathon; the longest run I had done before I began training was 5 miles! Although it was a huge undertaking, I tried to do my best in both fundraising and running; both proved to be equally challenging.
MH: The fundraising was the race within the race. My fundraising actually went better than my training did. But knowing that people were supporting the Keys to Degrees program gave me extra motivation to do what I could to prepare for the marathon.
How did you feel in the days leading up to and following the marathon? Apprehension, excitement, relief, accomplishment? Would you recommend the experience to others?
JD: In the days leading up to the race, my mind was really just focused on preparation. Working in athletics, once the activity begins everything seems right in the world. Waiting is the hardest part. I was also unfortunately paranoid the weekend before the race about any little activity that could ruin this opportunity. It sounds quite crazy but I was extremely cautious when taking stairs, driving, and doing other day-to-day things that I wouldn’t necessarily think about normally.
AF: The weekend before the marathon is when it hit me that I was actually going to be a part of this enormous event. I had reached my fundraising goal by Marathon Monday, so I knew it was up to me to just run! Although I stuck to my training plan throughout the cold, winter months I was still unsure if I had prepared enough. I had only been on the course once so it was exciting and terrifying to be experiencing it for the first time on race day. I did not sleep the night before but as race time approached, adrenaline started pumping, and all of my nerves went away. I would definitely recommend the experience to others. It’s amazing to see how fast your body adapts to all of the training and before I knew it, I was running 15 miles! It sounds cliché, but anyone can do it if they put in the work and have the dedication. If I can do it, anyone can!
MH: I was apprehensive in the days leading up to the marathon and in the corral at the start because my training had not gone well due to some injuries and I really wasn’t sure that I’d be able to finish.
The days following the marathon were hard. I was relieved that my family was okay, sad to learn about those who died or sustained extensive injuries, and angry that someone would commit such a senseless act. I also felt that I wasn’t able to experience the race fully. I was on Hereford Street when the bombs went off. When I turned onto Boylston Street, I was prevented from advancing by police. So I never had the chance to finish my first-ever marathon. I received a medal, as did other runners who were stopped, but I never went the full 26.2 as I had set out to do.
What was your favorite and least favorite part of training?
AF: My favorite part of training was accomplishing long distance runs. I would be nervous every night before my long, Saturday morning run, but it was such an amazing feeling after accomplishing your goals.
My least favorite part of training was the weather, of course! New England’s harsh, winter weather made it very difficult to leave a warm house many mornings. The Boston Marathon is a tough Marathon to train for, especially while trudging through snow, ice and winds!
Was running that day hard or easier than you thought it would be? Did you have any memorable moments along the route that really spurred you on?
JD: The first 10 miles of that day were a blink of the eye. Just to be out of Athlete’s Village and actually moving around and staying warm was a great feeling. In my opinion, the hardest part for me race-wise was waiting and preparing that morning.
There are many memorable moments for me that day. Most of those moments are just faces. I could not tell you what mile they were at and perhaps what they were saying but they helped me move forward. Wellesley College and Boston College were great experiences. Wellesley continued a great tradition of noise and motivation. I struggled with the Newton Hills so BC was one of many turning points for me. I raced without any music that day so that I could soak in the experience and really feel the excitement. I am very glad I made that decision.
MH: It turned out to be easier than I thought it would be. The fact that I went out slowly helped, but it was more the way that the pack pulled me along and spectators urged me on. Also, I talked with other runners during the race. One was from Canada, another from South Africa. When you chat with people during the race, you forget about how far you still have to go; you just run and before you know it, you’ve progressed another mile or two.
The bombing obviously drastically affected your Boston Marathon experience. If you’re comfortable, describe the emotions around that – how did the community react? Did you feel supported?
AF: As I approached mile 21, I had heard the news that there had been explosions at the finish line. I did not know at the time the extent of the events but I knew that it could not have been good if the race was stopped. I was held in a medical tent with 30-40 other runners as we all tried to scramble to get in touch with loved ones. I knew that my husband, mom, dad, brother, cousin and aunt were all at the finish line waiting for me, so at that point; I was in a bit of a panic. I was able to get in touch with them relatively quickly, and found that they were all OK but that they were only 30 or so feet from the location of the second explosion.
While I was in the tent the support of others was overwhelming. Spectators that had lived in the area came into the tent to make sure we were all OK, bringing us cookies, pretzels, Advil, cell phones and other items to help in any way they could. I had arranged for my aunt to pick me up at the medical tent but the roads were still blocked off. One of the spectators that lived nearby offered me and anyone else a place to stay until our rides came to pick us up. About six of us were greeted by her three children at their home in Newton along with anything we needed – food, cell phone chargers, etc. It was amazing to experience; there are still people willing to accommodate others in times of need and distress. I am forever grateful for that family.
Do you have any advice for runners training for their first marathon?
JD: Be smart. Listen to your body. Broadcast your goals (this helps with motivation and accountability).
Running and racing is much more than just putting on shoes and going. Some days the hardest thing is putting on the shoes and getting out there, but do not underestimate all the other aspects too; overall health, NUTRITION, mileage, speed work, time management, etc.
AF: There are hundreds of training plans out there – whichever you choose, stick to it! What may work for one athlete may not work for you, so find whatever works for you. Sticking to the training will help immensely on Marathon day.
MH: Ease into your training gradually, especially if, like me, you haven’t done a lot of running in recent years. Also, get out on the marathon course a few times as you train. The distance seems less insurmountable when you know the landmarks, where the hills are, etc.
The ultimate question: would you run again? Why?
JD: 100%. It has been said that the vast majority of people just want to be part of something bigger than themselves that has the opportunity to create success. When I really think about the entire process of being a part of this, from being selected in October, to training and fundraising, to being healthy and well on race day and achieving our fundraising goal, I am humbled by the absolute amount of success that we had as a “team”. Not just racing and not just fundraising, but the overall amount of positivity that we were able to create for Endicott College, the Keys to Degrees Program, and ourselves.
MH: I think I may accept the BAA’s invitation to run again next year, but I haven’t decided yet. I would do it again to truly finish the race, but also because running the race, up until the bombings, was a great experience. It was incredible to be part of something that big and possessing such a rich history. There is also the opportunity to grow the Keys to Degrees Scholarship program by running again. Some institutions and non-profits have teams of 100 runners or more. Endicott’s first-ever team had only three members. There is definitely room to expand and I hope the College does expand to more runners for the program next year.