With marathoners covering the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boylston, the annual Boston Marathon was held on April 18. Meghan Dunne PG’22 participated and successfully completed the event, alongside her mother, Mary Higgins, as her running mate.
With the intensity of both the training and academics, Dunne found herself inspired by her mother to take part in the marathon. According to Dunne, she was naturally motivated to follow her mother’s path of completing several marathons and become her running mate like Dunne’s other siblings.
“I ran with my mom this year, and this is her eleventh marathon and her eighth Boston [Marathon]. Growing up, I always remember going to the water stops and stuff and cheering her on. And I think just as I’ve grown older, I’ve seen how… she just inspired me to do it. And my siblings—I’m one of five—and my two older siblings ran with her. So I felt like it was my turn to do it,” said Dunne.
Starting in early February, Dunne started her training regime. As Dunne ran for Boston Children’s Hospital, she was provided with a training schedule to follow, with its practice distances ranging from just a few miles to 21 miles.
“[It] starts out with pretty easy runs starting with four to five miles. And typically, in a week, you’ll have three runs that consist of [shorter runs]. And then on Saturdays, you have your long run, so that builds up to 21 miles, [which is] the farthest you’ll run before the marathon. I would go home and do that on the route with my mom or with our Marathon team. There were 120, I think, other runners that were running for children, so it was nice to be running with other people,” said Dunne.
Both physical and mental strength are required for such a long event and were something Dunne trained for. Julia Hall ’22, who accompanied Dunne during one of her training runs, commented on Dunne’s attributes as an athlete, which aided her in the marathon.
“She is very mentally strong, which is what you really need to run a marathon. And that’s very impressive because I think a lot of it is mental. So the ability that she has to just fight through the want to stop to run is pretty amazing. Whatever she puts her mind to, she gets done. She’s very consistent too; she would never say she was doing [something] and [then] quit,” said Hall.
Balancing such a training schedule along with Andover’s challenging classes was surprisingly not as hard for Dunne as expected. Through these months, Dunne has been able to improve her work ethic and organizational skills, aiding not only her athletics but also her academics.
Dunne said, “It definitely [did] take up a lot of time, [but] I think it took more of a toll on my social life. You need to be going to sleep at like 9:00 p.m. before the long runs [on Saturday]; that was a little tough. But in terms of schoolwork, it [helped] me to really be able to plan out my day and schedule when I’m gonna get my run in. And it really wasn’t an issue. I’d either wake up early and run or in the afternoons.”
Addressing both the mental and physical toils throughout the training process, Dunne recounted the challenges she faced before and during the marathon, as well as how she managed to succeed in the end.
“With training, the hardest was the mental part of it [and] in the marathon too. Your body can do such amazing things that you don’t even know about. Before this, I couldn’t even fathom running 15, 17, 19, 21, 26 miles. That was just crazy to me. But it really is all mentality. In terms of the marathon, I had gotten to mile 21 and still had five miles left to go, and I had never run that distance before. That was really hard for me, but having my mom who’s so much older than me and knows how to get through it was really, really helpful,” said Dunne.
Dunne continued, “Throughout training and the marathon, what helped me the most was just having my mom there. Not a lot of people get that opportunity to run a marathon with their mom, so that was kind of my mentality. I was like, ‘this is such a gift that I get to do this.’”