Two Faculty and One Student Race in Boston Marathon

Rachel Asher, Instructor in Spanish, Susanne Torabi, International Student Coordinator, and Katie Ellinger ’12, former Girls Cross Country Captain, all braved the scorching heat on Monday to run in the annual Boston Marathon.

Ellinger raised over $6,500 for a non-profit organization called Summer Search, which helps disadvantaged Boston public high school students graduate from high school and college.

“The minimum requirement is $4,000 and my goal was $5,000,” said Ellinger. “At first I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to make the minimum, so I’m glad that I was able to surpass it by so much!”

Asher finished with a blistering time of 3:06:18.

“I can’t complain about running my best time on such a hot day. I would have loved to break three hours, but I was really happy with how I raced and placed overall. Many of my teammates dropped out of the race or ran 15 to 20 minutes slower than planned,” said Asher.

This was Torabi’s 12th time running in the Boston Marathon and her 20th marathon overall.

Beforehand, Torabi was considering deferring due to a foot injury that she had been dealing with the past couple of weeks. However, when race day arrived she could not forget about her goals of crossing the finish line and qualifying for next year’s marathon.

“Surprisingly, this was one of my best races,” Torabi said. “I truly enjoyed this race because the Boston Marathon is like my home course. Crossing the finish line is always very emotional for me because I usually devote each of my races to a special person in my life.”

She continued, “I have always loved the challenge of running the distance, climbing the highest and being up for the utmost physical challenge my body can handle. Finishing the marathon under conditions like Monday certainly gave me that thrill to conquer that one, too.”

Ellinger first started training at the start of December, but did not record as much mileage as most marathoners because of a hip flexor injury at the peak of her training. She averaged about 25 to 30 miles a week compared to most runners, who average 40 to 60.

Her injury did not hold her back in the race at all, however, as she finished second out of every 18 year-old girl in the marathon with a time of 4:12:59. Ellinger is the first student in Andover history to run in the marathon and she hopes to run more in the future.

“I was very happy with my time,” said Ellinger. “Under ideal conditions, I was hoping to run closer to 3:30, but when the forecast for the hot weather came out, I decided to drop any time goals and just try to finish without needing hospitalization!”

“When I saw the big CITGO sign [in Boston], I knew I was going to finish and that I could go a little faster. When I could finally see the finish line, I tried to pick it up, but it felt like the finish wasn’t getting any closer! I was relieved when I finally crossed it,” said Ellinger.

The heat made a huge difference to finishing times in all age groups and competition, as even the winner of the marathon was a full 10 minutes slower than the 2011 winner.