Harris Craycraft, MCAS ’22, is a four-year member of the BC club running team. Since the spring of his freshman year, he has slowly been working his way up, from participating in track events, to half marathons, to finally the full marathon, he said.
Craycraft never had plans to run the Boston Marathon, but after running the Cambridge Half Marathon in November of 2019, things started to change, he said.
“That was really fun and people just started talking about training for a marathon,” Craycraft said. “And so within the club it sounded like a fun idea … It seemed like a really fun challenge. I thought the extra miles would be fun to train for.”
Craycraft qualified for the marathon at a small race in Columbus, Ohio last year, he said. Craycraft trained for the marathon both over the summer and once he arrived back on campus. In the summer, the most challenging part was training mostly alone in the Cincinnati, Ohio heat. But overall, Craycraft felt that it went really well, he said.
“Each week you win a little race,” Craycraft said. “There’s a bunch of different milestones as you go and finishing every single week is in itself really rewarding. So, obviously, the final race day is great but each week I just found a lot of satisfaction.”
Craycraft’s training routine consisted of 6 to 10 mile runs during the weekdays with one longer 19- to 20-mile run on the weekends, with one harder workout, and one workout at marathon pace, he said.
Craycraft was able to train with fellow club running members, including Kyle Donahue, MCAS ’22, and Drew Sandifer, CSOM ’22. Training together pushed Craycraft to not drop out and keep going, he said.
“The last few weeks I did a lot of workouts with Drew and he was so pivotal for helping me train because there’s a lot of days when if I’m working out on my own I might drop out, but having someone there to push you makes a tremendous difference,” Craycraft said. “So Drew was super helpful for my training and then just all the miles I ran with him and Kyle over the summer were really helpful as well.”
Leading up to the race, Craycraft began questioning himself, wondering if he had done enough training and was going to be able to make it up Heartbreak Hill, he said. But as Marathon Monday came closer, he started to feel at peace, he said.
“At that point, I knew there’s nothing more I could do,” he said. “It was kind of exciting to have a really easy week and just kind of enjoy the fruits that the training bears so there’s a range of emotions but it ended up pretty peaceful.”
Craycraft was surprised that the course was easier than he predicted, he said. The energy from the fans watching him gave him a boost of energy, he said.
“I think I was just so riled up—I’ve never run in front of fans before, and that was just, it just really fueled me,” he said. “It was awesome.”
Although he was hurting, when Craycraft finally passed BC, it was the perfect moment he had been waiting for the entire race. It was unlike anything he had ever done before.
“To pass BC knowing that there are people who are kind of following me on the tracking app and who were waiting and all the people who didn’t know me but they still saw my BC jersey and stuff so passing it was just kind of a lot of joy,” Craycraft said. “You know I wasn’t thinking I’d be smiling so much running through there, but I was.”
Craycraft hopes to run the 2022 Boston Marathon in the spring, and plans on approaching it a bit differently the next time, he said.
“I’m actually going to go out a little bit harder,” Craycraft said. “A lot of people say for Boston that you want to take the beginning … very conservative so you’re not dead by the time you hit the hills. But I learned that I think I am able to be a little bit more uncomfortable towards the beginning and still finish hard. So I think that’s how I’m going to take it differently. Just learning how to trust my body and have confidence in my abilities to not be scared to work hard and kind of do something that makes me uncomfortable.”
Overall, Craycraft is thankful to the BC community for coming out to support all of the runners and providing much-needed encouragement, he said.
“I feel like I can’t thank the BC community enough just for being out there and cheering,” he said. “Just, I know for myself and I’m sure everyone else who passes BC that, like, they need that to get through and finish the race.”
Featured Image Courtesy of Harris Craycraft