On October 6, several Bowdoin students ran in the 22nd annual Maine Marathon. Approximately 1,000 runners participated in Maine’s premier marathon, and about 2,000 more ran in the accompanying half marathon.
“I picked out this particular marathon in the spring and have been training since May,” said Ben Pallant ’16, who was competing in his first marathon.
Like others from Bowdoin, Pallant didn’t stick to a particularly strict training routine preparing for the race, but put in many hours over the summer.
Seniors Helen Newton and Maeve O’Leary, teammates on the women’s swimming team, trained for and ran the marathon together.
“I can safely say that neither of us would have ever attempted a marathon alone,” said O’Leary. “The idea of running with only an iPod for 26 miles is pretty scary.”
“We like running, so we didn’t want it to have to be a chore,” she said.
“It’s a very clear distinction from swimming, where we go to practice and have a plan,” said Newton. “Running, for us, is something we can do to enjoy the outside. It’s not regimented.”
“And nobody relies on us to be fast,” added O’Leary.
Michael Colbert ’16, who ran the half marathon, was unsure that he would even be running until soon before the race.
“I started training in July, but I got my tonsils out and that sat me out for a while,” he said. “I didn’t actually think I was going to run the race until three weeks beforehand. I ran seven, nine and 11 miles every week to catch up.”
None of Bowdoin’s participants had ever run a full 26.2 before the race. According to marathoner Greg Rosen ’14, the additional few miles made a world of difference.
“By mile 23, I felt like I wanted to stop running,” said Rosen. “I’ve never felt like that before. But the spectators’ cheering helped me finish.”
“In our training, our conversations usually built throughout a given run,” said Newton. “That happened in the race until mile 22, when we went silent for a bit. And then it sort of became gibberish. We started quoting The Parent Trap and singing.”
“We had to keep telling each other that we were going to finish,” O’Leary said.
Despite the inherent hardships of a 26.2 mile run, students were unanimously pleased with their end results.
“I would say the best part about it was having random spectators who you didn’t know cheering for you throughout the course,” said Rosen. “The bibs were a different color for you if you were running your first marathon, so a lot of people were cheering extra hard for the yellow bibs.”
“We held hands crossing the finish line. It was the corniest thing you could possibly do,” said O’Leary.
“You don’t realize how many people are invested in you running this race,” said Newton. “Not only our family and friends who came, but you can see people tearing up around you. Everyone’s getting excited.”
All expressed interest in running another marathon.
“I’m trying to run the Boston Marathon through charity this next year,” said Rosen. “The qualifying time is 3:05, but you can run to raise money with a certain charity without having met that.”
“I would definitely do it again,” said Pallant. “I wouldn’t run one in the spring, because the training during the school year would be hard. But I loved the race and the sense of accomplishment that came with it, and I’m ready to get back to running already.”
“I want to do a full marathon someday, and I think I’ll do another half,” said Colbert.
He encouraged those who have interest in running a half marathon to give it a shot.
“It’s definitely something that people can do,” Colbert said. “It might seem like a lot but once you get to training for it, it’s really manageable. You start small and build a little bit each week.”
But, Rosen cautions, don’t sign up for a full marathon unless you’re prepared to fully commit to it.
“You have to really love running. It’s not something where you can just say ‘I want to pick up this accomplishment,’” he said.