Like most Boston College students, BC softball’s Nicole Giery and Abigail Knight woke in the early hours of the morning on Marathon Monday.
While many students solely looked forward to Flo Rida’s performance in the Mod Lot, Giery and Knight, two of BC’s top four hitters, looked forward to something else—watching their head coach, Amy Kvilhaug, run in the Boston Marathon.
For the first time since 2014, Kvilhaug participated in the Boston Marathon on Monday. Kvilhaug, who has been at the helm of BC’s program since the end of the 2019 season, set out to trek the 26.2-mile route for the third time in her life, and her players made sure they were there to cheer her on.
“When she ran by us at Mile 21, you could tell how much it meant to her that we were there waiting for her and screaming for her to keep pushing,” Knight said. “Being there for people in those moments is something really special.”
Kvilhaug crossed the finish line in 3:46.21, and she said the experience was rewarding.
“I think the marathon is one of the ultimate tests of the human spirit,” Kvilhaug said. “I love how hardcore the training is.”
Kvilhaug said that her players were there through every step of the intense training process and showed constant love and support.
Knight said this seemed to make a difference in Kvilhaug’s experience.
“A lot of the girls had conversations with her about how she was feeling during her prep, and I think it made her happy to know that we were rooting for her and genuinely excited for her success,” Knight said.
The Boston Marathon—or any long-distance race, for that matter—requires great mental fortitude and discipline, according to Kvilhaug. It is recognized as one of the hardest marathons in the world due to its hilly course and inconsistent weather conditions. Kvilhaug said she enjoys that aspect of the challenge, though, and said that she appreciates the sport of running for its simple nature.
“I love that everyone has a story to tell as to why they run,” Kvilhaug said. “I love the life lessons that running teaches you. I have played many sports in my life and believe that running has taught me the most about myself.”
For many people, runners and spectators alike, Marathon Monday was an emotional day, as this year marked the 10th anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. Kvilhaug was no exception.
“I actually ran my first [marathon] in 2013, so it was really inspiring to be part of the 10th anniversary of the tragic Boston bombing day,” Kvilhaug said.
One of Kvilhaug’s running mates from 10 years ago was by her side again on Monday. But it wasn’t just a running mate—it was Kvilhaug’s father. These are the things that make the event all the more special, she said.
“I love that I get to share running with my father, who just completed his 28th consecutive Boston Marathon on Monday,” Kvilhaug said. “How awesome is that?”
When it comes to sources of support post–Heartbreak Hill down the final stretch, Kvilhaug said she appreciates how boisterous and lively the BC community is. Students on the Heights truly bring the energy and make a difference in the runners’ spirits, Kvilhaug said.
“I absolutely adore how much Boston College embraces the Boston Marathon,” Kvilhaug said. “The crowds at Mile 21 are among the best on the course. I love the spirit and support of the students.”
For Knight, the feeling was mutual.
“Getting to watch her was such a fun experience for everyone,” Knight said.