A Marathon before the Marathon

This past Sunday, 18 brave runners started the 26.2 mile trek from Hopkinton, MA to Copley Square in Boston. A week and a day before the oldest active marathon in the country -- the Boston Marathon -- the Campus School Marathon Team traveled on the same path that over 30,000 runners will on Patriots' Day.

Often, they ran alone. The street was not closed for them; occasionally they had to stop for traffic lights. Through the solidarity of the marathon, there was one pervasive thought – this is for the Campus School kids and families. As Taylor Pierce, a Campus School runner and A&S ’15, put it, “The Bandit Marathon is more relationship based with the Campus School. Families line the course and that is the most inspirational part.” There may not have been hundreds of thousands of people watching the Campus School runners this past Sunday, but having the Campus School and Boston College community on the course was an inspiration.

Photo Courtesy of Boston College Campus School Running Club & Marathon Team 2014-15 / Facebook

Photo Courtesy of Boston College Campus School Running Club & Marathon Team 2014-15 / Facebook

Not only did the Campus School team conquer the marathon on Sunday, they also kept up their training during the record setting winter. Running in the winter was limited to the treadmill or sloshing around in half shoveled roads and sidewalks. On one long run this winter, Taylor Pierce and Alexia Blackhurst recalled that “People were throwing snow off their roofs hitting us. Now I appreciate running with no snow on the ground.”

It certainly was a difficult winter to train, but these 18 Campus School runners prevailed. Even with the challenges, the Campus School runners trained and did what they needed to do to accomplish their marathon goal. Throughout the fall, members did local 5k races, training runs, and Sunday long runs on Commonwealth Avenue.

Like the weeks and months of training, running the Boston Marathon can feel like a going through cities on a checklist. Alexia Blackhurst remarked that she was counting off cities until reaching Boston College. Starting in Hopkinton, then passing through Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline and finally reaching Boston, the runners took the journey through quaint New England towns and ultimately finished in the heart of downtown Boston.

Photo courtesy of Boston College Campus School Bandit Marathon / Facebook

Photo courtesy of Boston College Campus School Bandit Marathon / Facebook

The anticipation of reaching Boston College, at mile 21 of the marathon course, was what Alexia Blackhurst said was the high point of the run: “You get excited to reach BC, so after you pass campus you need to be mentally prepared.” After mile 21 is “where you either crash or make it the whole way. It is where you see what you are made of,” noted Grad Student and Campus School runner Marissa Digirolamo.

All 18 Campus School runners made it, but as Taylor, Alexia and Marissa said, it is not just about the runners, it is about the Campus School. Now a few days after the marathon, the runners may be sore and struggling to walk downstairs, but the memories of completing a marathon for such a good cause will remain forever.

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Carter Montgomery