Waiting for marathon tests school runners’ endurance


Grace Lang, Contributing Writer

For the second time since its first year in 1897, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) has not hosted the Boston Marathon in April on Patriots Day. In 2020, a virtual race replaced the event, and this year, again because of the pandemic, the BAA has postponed the marathon from April 19 to October 11. Consequently, members of the school community have not been able to participate, or experience the race as spectators, for the past two years.

Upper School (US) History and Social Sciences Teacher Matt Turnbull, who ran the Boston Marathon for three consecutive years before COVID-19 hit and was planning on running it again last spring before its cancellation, said he will race this fall in the postponed marathon.

“The marathon is always such a fun day in Boston,” Mr. Turnbull said. “It’s been great to both participate in it and watch it. It’s one of those days that so many different people come out and watch that it seems like a pretty happy day in Boston where everyone is kind of paying attention to the same thing, which is cool.”

Throughout the pandemic he has continued running alone, he said, but it does not feel the same.

“When you go to the starting line of a race, you get a certain nervousness and anticipation that just doesn’t happen when you’re running by yourself. I definitely miss the crowd at the race and being able to have a goal that I’m shooting for,” he said. “But the other piece is just having people to run with. I’m part of a running club in Cambridge which hasn’t been able to meet in the same way for a while, so the social aspect of training and going to races and seeing people you know is definitely something I miss.”

Julia Lang, Lucy Foot, and Olivia Knight (all ’20) were planning on running the Boston Marathon last spring as well.

“I was excited to run with my friends,” Julia said. “It’s definitely sad to see that it was canceled again this year because I remember how disappointed I was when I felt like everything I was looking forward to and working toward was taken away.”

Annie Stockwell ’22, a member of the US Track and Cross Country teams, said she misses the atmosphere of the sidelines.

“It’s sad because, you know, everyone would go together and hang out with their friends, so when it’s postponed, it’s taking away from that aspect of just having a good time with your friends and watching the race together.”

Tess Holland ’23, who runs for the US Track Team and whose sister has run the New York and Berlin marathons, also misses attending marathons and races, she said.

“I love going to the events and watching because they are always so fun and exciting, so I am definitely upset that the Boston Marathon has been canceled for two years in a row. However, it is best for everyone to stay safe and healthy.”

One silver lining of the pandemic has been more time and appreciation for running, Tess added.

“COVID has definitely allowed me to focus on running more,” she said. “I think when life gets back to normal, I will be interested in running some smaller local races with my sister to make up for those times lost in the pandemic.”

Alex Wu ’21, a member of the US track team who had been excited to run the Boston Marathon for charity this spring, said his love for running derives from having watched his parents run the Boston Marathon when he was younger. He plans on participating during another year, he said, and for now is just training for the track season through running outdoors and on a treadmill.

“My passion for running and my goal to run a marathon have only been fueled by the pandemic,” Alex said.