If you ask most seniors what they have left to cross off their BC bucket lists, they’ll probably say the same things: a trip to the Gasson bell tower, a drink with a professor, a coveted Senior Five kiss. But for three members of the Class of 2015, the biggest item on their bucket list is a tremendous challenge of physical endurance: finally crossing the finish line at the Boston Marathon.
As sophomores, Emily Belic, Anna Fieweger and Kate McAuliffe resolved to run the marathon as bandits for the BC Campus School team. After grueling months of training, the girls saw their dreams dashed when the bombing at the finish line prevented them from completing the race. But these ladies never gave up, and now they’re back two years later, committed to charity teams and ready to take on the 119th running of the Boston Marathon on April 20.
I sat down with these runners (who just so happen to be my former roommates—#walsh4forever) to learn a little about the rewards and challenges of taking on the 26.2.
Tell us a little about yourselves, and your decision to run the Boston Marathon this year.
KM: Well, we all ran sophomore year. I got to 25 and a half when I was stopped, and then after that I was pretty bummed about not finishing. So then I decided that I was going to run the next year, but that wasn’t going to pan out because they weren’t letting bandit runners in, so I ran with the Campus School and did the BC Campus School marathon, and then I was lucky enough to be taken in for the lottery for New York, so then I ran New York in November, and then this’ll be my fourth marathon… so finally I’ll be able to finish it senior year. It’s been a long haul.
EB: Mine’s pretty similar. I ran sophomore year with the girls also, got to Mile 25 when I was stopped. It sucked, but then I decided to try to run while I was abroad, which was a bad mistake, because it’s really hard to train when you’re studying abroad. I got a little overambitious when training for the Copenhagen Marathon, and I got myself a stress fracture, so I couldn’t finish that marathon either. So, third time’s a charm, and I’m hoping to finish Boston this year.
AF: I also ran it sophomore year with these girls—I was a little farther behind because my hips started acting up, so I was stopped at Mile 21, which was absolute shit because I didn’t get to see BC. Then the next year I started training for the bandit, then when I found out that we weren’t going to be allowed in I decided not to do it, so I trained and then just quit at the end. Then this year, finally got a number through a charity organization, Team Hole in the Wall, which is cool. I’m still going for it!
KM: We’re still truckin’ along. We haven’t given up, which I think is pretty cool. I think a lot of people, after they do Boston, understandably stop running. But [the 2013 marathon] was the best day of my life, and it quickly turned into the worst day of my life. You go into the day thinking you’re going to accomplish something really amazing, and to have that happen—it was 100% the worst day of my entire life.
AF: The feelings afterward were kind of confusing and complicated. In one part, you felt really mad because all this work was now taken away from you, you just felt sad because so many other people were hurt, then you also just kind of felt guilty, because we were fine, and it wasn’t really anything… it did directly affect us, but we didn’t get the worst of it.
EB: I felt like it wasn’t our tragedy to feel bad about.
KM: Over the years we’ve realized that it is our tragedy, too, but at the time it was like, “I’m not injured, I’m perfectly healthy”—it just didn’t feel right, but now… we feel more attached to it, for sure. That’s why we kept going. This year’s been fun… I think this year we’re really just looking to make it fun, to finish, and to raise money for really awesome charities.
EB: I think the charities add a big component to it, and I also feel like this is something we’re doing for ourselves, but also to stand up for our city and show that we rallied back, and that everyone has, basically. I don’t know, I kinda feel that way.
KM: Yeah, I definitely do too. Especially last year, even though I didn’t do it on the day-of, I think running the year after and continuing to run just shows that you’re not giving in to what the terrorists did, because like, I’m part of Boston and this is my city, and I’m going to keep going.
What’s been the biggest challenge throughout your training?
AF: Snow. The frickin’ snow. It’s been awful. I can’t even tell you how much I hate it. I’ve seen so many people wipe out.
KM: I fell yesterday, actually. I completely ate it. It was so bad. Really, it was not comfortable.
EB: The snow’s been bad, but also, we’re kind of getting old, which sounds bad.
KM: (laughs) At 21, I’m an old woman.
EB: But like, we’ve been pushing our bodies so hard for so long that like… I was told on Tuesday that after this my running days are basically over. My knees just can’t take it anymore.
KM: Yeah, same. I think my hardest thing with training is that basically my first training run I did something to my T-band… I have a lot of pain every time I run. It’s kind of better now, but I’ve been out for the last two months. I’m training for this in six weeks, and then just kind of going for it. But also, running is pretty boring, not gonna lie… It’s hard to find the drive, I think, every day to keep going, and to be like, “Yeah, I’m gonna do this!” Sophomore year it was exciting and new, and every run was the furthest I’ve ever run. Now I’m like, this is my fourth one, I just want to get this done, and be through it. But I think the charities help keep me going, knowing that what I’m doing is doing a lot of good.
What’s the most rewarding part about running marathons?
KM: I’m in such good shape.
EB: SUCH good shape.
AF: You get this unexplainable runner’s high when you’re doing the actual marathon… I’ve done both the running the marathon and Marathon Monday, traditional drinking at BC, and from my experience running it was more fun. I love Marathon Monday, but running it is just—
KM: And you’re famous for like a week after, I swear to God. You wear that jacket around and people are like, “You’re the coolest person I’ve ever met in my life,” and you’re like, “Yeah, I am.”
EB: I can’t even explain it. I was so tired when I got to the top of Heartbreak Hill, but then I saw all of BC and they saw the Campus School… everyone just started screaming your name because you write it on your leg or something, and you’re high-fiving, and I had so much energy for that mile—I was dead, I was so tired at the top, because the Newton hills are a killer.
KM: I sprinted through Mile 21, and I paid for it.
EB: My sister joined me, and that was the only reason I was able to keep going after that. I was like, “Oh my God, I wore myself out here.”
KM: Yeah, they’re really excited that you’re there. Because I think that the Boston Marathon, at least from running New York versus Boston—Boston is something that the whole city, and the suburbs, this entire town really supports. There’s tons of people out, they’re there year after year, and they’re just as excited as you are. I think that’s really awesome… New York is great, but that’s not what I experienced.
EB: Yeah, that’s not what Copenhagen is like. No one had any idea, they’d be like, “Oh wow!”, but it’s not really a thing.
KM: But Boston, it’s so incredibly celebrated, which is really cool, and the people are awesome and they’re offering you water and orange slices the whole way, and they’re really there for you. The spectators, they see you struggling and they look for your name on your bib or on your leg, and they’re like, “Keep going, you can do it!”
Alright, thanks guys! Any last words for your BC community and Rock readers?
KM: Like we said, this is kind of our third go at it, and we haven’t succeeded yet, so we really need some help.
KM: I have to raise $5,000.
EB: We have to raise $7,500 apiece—
AF: So total, that’s over $15,000… we have a long way.
EB: We implore the community to help us out.
KM: We need all the help we can get, and we really appreciate everything that everyone’s already done.
AF: Just show up, it’s free at the door.
KM: All you have to do is buy drinks. That’s all.
EB: And we know that BC students are good at that.
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