Bandits Steal Their Marathon

After doing a 21-mile training run in the rain and cold, Kelley Summers, CSOM ’16, hoped for a beautiful Marathon Sunday. “That would make the hard parts in the course that much easier to get through,” she said last week.

Unfortunately the day arrived drizzly and dull, but for Summers and the other Campus School runners, just having the support of their fellow Eagles on the course was enough encouragement.

“I really just cannot wait to see my training pay off on the 13th,” Summers said. “I’m hoping for a ton of screaming Eagles crowding down at the bottom of Heartbreak Hill. That would be a great second wind to have to get me through those next five miles to the finish line.”

At least that wish was granted on Sunday, as clusters of Boston College students lined Mile 21 from one edge of campus to the other to watch their classmates cruise by them.

“Everyone’s out here still supporting the runners,” said Nikki St. Jean, LSOE ’15, who was on the course to support her friends who were running. “It doesn’t matter what day it’s on.”

For Summers, this intense support and long tradition of the Boston Marathon, which she’d been hearing about even before she arrived at BC, compelled her to train for the marathon.

“Whether it is on race day or not, I still feel a part of that tradition, and being able to say that I ran on that famous course for a great cause such as the Campus School is great for me,” Summers said.

It was seeing that tradition marred by last year’s bombing that finally sealed the deal for Summers.

“Having seen how such a joyful day full of pride, excitement, and camaraderie turned somber and frightening in an instant really encouraged me,” she said.

Support from friends who had run the marathon in previous years also gave her an extra push. Although she said that running 26.2 miles can get boring, she hoped that their support and a good playlist of music could get her through.

“The people that told me they have run it made me believe that I could, too, if I really worked hard, so I focused on making them proud while proving to myself that I could actually run 26.2 miles, which is something I could never have imagined myself doing even two or three years ago,” Summers said.

Brittany Birbiglia, CSON ’14, had wanted to run the marathon for years but kept putting it off.

“I decided to add the marathon to my senior year bucket list, and I was not going to let myself make any excuses this time,” she said last week.

Like Summers, last year’s tragedy had an impact on Birbiglia’s decision to continue training, despite the fact that she would not be able to run in the actual Boston Marathon. After missing almost a month of training due to an injury and minor illness, it would be easy to drop out when it was announced that the Campus School would be running a separate marathon.

“It just didn’t seem reasonable for me to throw all that away,” she said. “More importantly, we were still running for an amazing cause. Not only was it unfair to cheat ourselves after our hard work, it was completely inconsiderate to let the Campus School down.”

Majo Guillen, a member of the Campus School’s marathon committee CSOM ’14 and, said that having the marathon on a Sunday actually allowed runners greater interaction with the families and students for whom they were running.

“They’re at water stations throughout the course,” she said. Guillen also said that she was happy to see that there were so many people at BC who supported the marathon, while shouting her own encouragement to runners via a megaphone.

Corleone Delaveris, A&S ’15, was mentally set on not running even before the Campus School announced its separate marathon. A member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Delaveris doesn’t normally get Easter off from school, but this year both the Western and Eastern Easters fall on the same day.

A combination of the opportunity to go home for Easter and the Boston Athletic Association’s imminent crackdown on bandit runners, or unregistered runners like the Campus School’s, led him to mentally commit to not running this year.

Breakfast with a friend who was also considering not running changed Delaveris’s mind.

“He told me that he wasn’t sure if it was worth it, now that it wasn’t the Boston Marathon,” Delaveris said. “My immediate response was, ‘You’re not running to run the Boston Marathon, you’re running for the Campus School.’ It was my gut response.”

The reminder that he would be running for something other than himself set Delaveris back on track. A runner since high school, he said that his decision not to participate last year after having run for the Campus School his freshman year compelled him to train for this year’s race.

“I decided to run, both on behalf of the Campus School, for whom I had felt guilty for not running the year before, and for the solidarity of Boston, because we can’t let the attacks make us afraid to go outside,” Delaveris said.

Ben Dollar, whose son has been a student at the Campus School for several years, said that both the runners and their support have always impressed him.

“I’m continually delighted by the level of commitment,” he said. “I’m amazed, but not surprised.”

Michael Granatelli, A&S ’15, said that being on the sidelines was a bit strange-he’d run last year’s marathon, but knew that things would be different for bandit runners now and decided to take a year off from training in December, before the Campus School announced Sunday’s race. Even being on the sidelines, though, didn’t make him feel left out.

“There’s so much BC pride,” he said. “It’s crazy that people are doing this without it being an actual marathon. There’s people yelling all over-I could hear it from my room. It really makes you appreciate BC.”


April 13, 2014