Apr | 13
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Inspiration

Three Women Discuss Running the Boston Marathon and What it Means

No matter who you are, the Boston Marathon is a monumental race. From first time runners to veteran runners, runners and non runners, men and women and everyone in between knows of the Boston Marathon and its significance. For women, though, running the Boston Marathon hasn’t always been an option, and their journey to the start line has been one of challenge and celebration. This year being the 50th anniversary of women running the race, we want to shine a light on some female voices reflecting on the race and what it means to them.

 

Trish Steele, Key Account Sales Manager

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Trish (right) celebrates after running her first Boston Marathon in 2010.

When did you run Boston? What was your time?

I’ve run Boston five times. 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015. My best time was 3:24.

What made you want to run Boston?

I’m from Worcester, Mass. (central Massachusetts), and lived in Boston for almost eight years. In Massachusetts, Patriot’s Day (coincides with Marathon Monday) is a holiday, so we always had the day off of school/work. I grew up watching the race every year. I didn’t realize that there were other “marathons” until high school. All those years of watching the race, it was really the “back of the pack” runners that made it fun. It’s a great accomplishment to finish a marathon and seeing people that weren’t “runners” spend a year raising money and training for this race made it special. The energy, both on and off the course, is amazing. After several years of cheering on runners, a few friends and I decided we wanted to run the race as well. Marine Corp Marathon in 2009 was my first marathon and I qualified for Boston in that race. I signed up every year between 2010-2015 . This is the first year since I was 21 that I won’t be in Boston to either watch or run the marathon (runners had to beat the qualifying standards by 2:38 min and I just missed the cutoff) and I’m definitely a little bummed about that. But I’m planning to be back in 2017!

Is there anything about your Boston Marathon (or one of them) that made it special? 

When I lived in the city, the training was one of the most memorable parts of the experience. Several weekend days throughout the winter, I would meet up with friends to run on the marathon course. Since there are a lot of charity training groups that also run the course, it wouldn’t be odd to see 100+ runners running down Route 16 in cold, snowy weather.

What was your overall experience running that marathon?

I love the Boston Marathon. The course is hard – I’m always sore for weeks after the race. But the crowd support is amazing, and it’s so much fun to be out in Boston after the race. The entire city knows the race is happening and everyone that sees you once you finish says “congratulations.”

What would you say to another female considering running Boston, too?

I can’t believe that women have been allowed to run the race for less than half the years men have been allowed to run! Although it’s tough, it is a terrific experience. People in the crowd and on the course are very supportive.

Would you run it again? Why?

I’m already planning on 2017!

Amy Meredith, Charlotte Guru

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Amy runs the 2015 Boston Marathon.

When did you run Boston? What was your time?

I ran the Boston Marathon for the first time last year (2015) with a time of 3:24. I will also be heading back this year to run the streets of Boston one more time.

What made you want to run Boston?

After my first marathon in 2011, I was so wrapped up in the excitement of the marathon that I decided as I was grabbing my chocolate milk and water from the finishers lane that I would be going for a Boston Qualifier at my next race. Little did I know at the time that the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) would be making the qualifying standards faster so it took me a little longer to get there than I had originally planned.

Is there anything about your Boston Marathon (or one of them) that made it special? 

The Boston Marathon to me was the Olympics for the normal runner. Running fast has not always come natural. The training to get my first Boston qualifying time was exhausting to say the least, so just being there surrounded by all these amazing runners was just a surreal experience. I may have even teared up at the finish line until the announcer told me over the loud speaker there’s no crying in marathons.

What was your overall experience running that marathon?

The overall experience was everything I thought it was going to be. The course was grueling. The weather was cold at best. The crowd was absolutely incredible. I made a point to give everyone that had their hand stretched out a high five. Knowing that I had part of the Brooks family out there cheering made it even better. I felt so grateful to be out there hearing cheers from fellow Gurus!

What would you say to another female considering running Boston, too?

I have had the pleasure of talking to other females that are going after an entry into the Boston Marathon, and each time I tell them it’s the experience of a lifetime. It takes a lot of heart and hard work but in the end it is so worth it. Learning about the history of women in the Boston Marathon makes it that much more special to be representing female runners out there.

Would you run it again? Why?

If nothing derails in the next few days, I will be out there again running into downtown Boston in the 2016 marathon. There are a lot of great marathons out there but Boston holds something special. I have a new appreciation for the city of Boston. Their crowds really make the Boston Marathon a one of a kind experience.

Lauren Breihof, Associate Materials Planner

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Lauren and her friend Courtney smile after finishing Boston.

When did you run Boston? What was your time?

I ran Boston for the first time in 2014, which was the year following the bombings. I ran a time of 3:11, which wasn’t what I was going for that day, but marathon race plans don’t always go accordingly.

What made you want to run Boston?

Boston is just about as iconic as it gets in the world of running! I had hopes of running the Boston Marathon ever since my first marathon, which was Seattle in 2008. The race feels special partly because you have to run a qualifying time in order to race, but also because the whole city is a part of it. There is so much history to this marathon that it feels like such a privilege to be a part of it. In addition to these reasons, deciding to run the year after the Boston bombings was very meaningful to me. The experience was a bit unnerving but also very emotional and special. It felt like everyone running and cheering that day was there in support of those who were injured and/or lost their lives in 2013. The running community is a very powerful group of passionate people, and I felt it that day more than I ever have at a race.

Is there anything about your Boston Marathon (or one of them) that made it special?

The experience was special for me for a few reasons. It was my first time running Boston, which was special in itself. Another reason it was special was because I was running it with two of my closest friends who are teammates from college and my older sister was there to cheer us on. It’s always more fun to share an experience with the people you love. On top of these reasons, the experience was most meaningful to me because of the particular year I chose to run it. Being at this event after the tragedy in 2013 made it such a powerful day. Although I didn’t know anyone personally who had raced the year prior, I felt as though I was running for a purpose…like I was running for remembrance and for something larger than a time or a medal.

What was your overall experience running that marathon? 

My overall experience was amazing and surreal. A number of smaller events happened prior to and during the race that made my actual race a bit of a disaster, but once I crossed the line, none of it seemed to matter. I tweaked my hamstring muscle about a week out from the marathon, so I had to adjust my race plan and goal time. I ran most of the race in quite a bit of pain, which was probably not the best decision, but to this day I’d still say it was worth it. I really enjoyed the enthusiasm from the crowds which lined both sides of the course for the entire 26.2 miles. People of all ages were holding signs, cheering out peoples’ names, and offering runners everything from fresh fruit to water and beer. The iconic Heartbreak Hill had tons of people blasting music from speakers and chanting encouraging words to let you know that the rest was all downhill. I was also pretty excited to see a number of Brooks employees cheering for me on the hill!

What would you say to another female considering running Boston, too?

I would tell her to definitely run it if she has the chance! It’s an experience that you can’t replace. Also, the race is especially iconic for females since Bobbi Gibb was the first woman to run the Boston marathon in 1966, which really revolutionized the sport for women. Boston is also an amazing city and by running the marathon you basically get a 26.2 mile tour (even though you have to work for it!).

Would you run it again? Why?

Definitely! Not only was it an amazing experience that I would like to re-live, but I also feel like I need redemption on my race.

 

Are you running Boston on Marathon Monday? Tell us why in the comments.

About Derek
I’m a runner, a writer, and a shoe lover who enjoys morning coffee, travel, singing in the car, and getting legitimately lost on trail runs. Three things I can’t live without: bubble tea, Fridays, and my Brooks PureFlow’s.
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