Boston Marathon

Interview with a Runner

Sometimes the best inspiration comes from hearing what inspires others. This week's runner, Jenna Horne, is one of those examples. We got to know Jenna through her dedicated training and involvement with Team Fox last fall. Jenna lives on the North Shore of Massachusetts with her husband and their two (very) fluffy cats. She works in the Wedding & Events industry and loves all things party planning, so it's no surprise that her most recent obsessions include DIY projects in their new home and her veggie garden as well as local craft beer (she loves checking out breweries in New England and has even dabbled a little in home-brewing). I think we know what Jenna will be drinking at the finish after her next race!

When did you start running?
I started running about 4 years ago as a way to get in shape. I’ve never been one to enjoy working out in a gym so running was a great way to get moving without being stuck inside. I ran my first 5k in 2011 and then a few months later I completed my first half marathon. Most recently I completed two marathons (New York and Boston) in the past 6 months. I'm totally hooked and can't wait for my next marathon!

Who or what inspires you to run?
My sister, Lauren, first inspired me to run. I watched her & my brother-in-law complete the Chicago Marathon in 2010 and it was so inspirational! After that I had so much more respect for running—especially marathon running. Two years later I watched her complete the Boston Marathon in 90+ degree weather. That proved to me that running a marathon is so much more than just logging miles; it’s about setting a personal goal, committing to it, and accomplishing it. Lauren is the reason I became interested in distance running. However, it was my Uncle Frank’s resolve to achieve anything while living with Parkinson’s Disease that made me want to run for my 1st marathon with Team Fox this past November. It was so amazing to have my whole family in NYC to cheer me on—especially the two people who have inspired me the most! Seeing them on the sidelines that day was a great reminder of why I love running.

What is your favorite running route? Why?
My favorite place to run is along the back shore in Gloucester, MA. I found the perfect 7 mile run right along the water. You get a nice breeze and a beautiful view- nothing better!

Favorite post-run meal?
Anything that is accompanied with a good beer.

Best piece of running advice?
Listen to your body. It's so important to be in-tune with your body and its limitations. A great piece of advice from my friend Brittney who is also a runner and NYC marathon finisher!

Are you running for fun or sport?
I run for fun and the sense of accomplishment. Growing up I was never really athletic. I love that running is something you can do at your own pace and for your own reasons.

Who would you love to run with (doesn't have to be a runner)?
I would love to run with Shalane Flanagan because she’s a hometown hero on the North Shore of Massachusetts and I’d love to get advice from her.

Favorite way to sweat other than run? 
I love to swim. Not only is it a great way to cross-train because it’s low impact on your body, but the water is also so calming.

Boston Marathon Recap

by Elizabeth Eckhart

“I can't run a personal best from behind. I can't win a race from behind. Goal No. 1 was to win this race. Goal No. 2 was to be on the podium. Goal No. 3 was to run a personal best. I could have been conservative and stayed back and run 2:10 or 2:11, but I'm a competitor. This is probably the most meaningful victory ever for me."For the first time since 1983, an American won the Boston Marathon men’s division with an official time of 2:08:37 (per the results viewable on the Boston Marathon’s Facebook page). Meb Keflezighi, who is 38, had his eye on that finish line, and nothing else, from the beginning. He had no intention of running a safe pace, in fact, he was quoted following his finish stating the exact opposite:

The women’s race, which took off around 9:30 am with the elite runners, was defended by previous champion, Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo, 33. Her time was an incredible 2:18:57, a course record. She is now the seventh person in history to have won three Boston Marathons.

Like many, Rita was likely overjoyed at the chance to re-do the Boston Marathon this year. Though she won last year, her victory, and more importantly, the spirit of the race, was marred by the tragic bombings, which killed three people and wounded more than 260. For the 36,000 runners competing in Monday’s race, the theme was “take back that finish line!” - an anthem that the race announcer shouted to them just prior to the start.

For runners like J.P. Norden and his brother, Paul, their determination is more than just admirable, it’s inspiring. Both brothers were injured in the mass confusion that followed the bombings last year, each had to have his right leg amputated as a result of their injuries. Both brothers now use prosthetic legs. J.P. told CNN, “Where we are right now, where we got hurt, lost... changed our lives.”

They weren’t the only ones, either. Marc Fucarile, another survivor who also lost his right leg, suffers from the constant threat of a piece of shrapnel still lodged in the inner wall of his heart. When asked about the pending trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was responsible for the bombings along with his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Fucarile says, “Whatever he gets, he deserves.”

Even President Barack Obama weighed in on the brave Boston Marathoners, tweeting from @WhiteHouse: “Congrats to @runmeb and @ShalaneFlanagan for making America proud! All of today’s runners showed the world the meaning of #BostonStrong. -bo.”

Representing her home country, Shalane Flanagan of Massachusetts, was the first American woman across the finish line. She led the race for the first 19 of the 26.2 miles, then slowly dropped to a still impressive seventh, with a time of 2:22:02. She broke her personal record of 2:25:38, and managed to secure the honor of having the fastest course time ever run by an American woman at the Boston Marathon. She told fans in the post race news conference, “I don’t wish it were easier, I just wish I were better. It was a really heartfelt performance.”

Flanagan was also one of the first to submit her entrance for the race, calling Mary Kate Shea, who assembles the John Hancock Elite Field, to confirm she’d be back in 2014 - just three days after the 2013 bombings. This year, she’s already confirmed her presence again at the 2015 race. “I can say right now, I’ll be back here until I win it. I’ll be back to challenge Jeptoo.”

If you missed the Boston Marathon’s live streaming, the event is already available on demand (with special packages) or If you were unable to compete, there are still opportunities as well: of the five largest marathons in the U.S. (of which each pull in over 20,000) racers, the ING New York City Marathon, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC and the Honolulu Marathon still remain for 2014. Though most lottery and early registration is filled (except for Honolulu), most of the races, including Bank of America Chicago and Marine Corps, are still available to register with a charity partner. Which means interested runners could sign up, and start training and fundraising today!

Marathon News

By Elizabeth Eckhart

The Sochi Winter Olympics are here, and many of us are going through a running competition withdrawal. Even seeing the familiar faces of famed Track & Field stars Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams who both have now chosen to switch over to bobsled, doesn’t quite fulfill our needs. Which is why we’ve compiled some updates and news on the 2016 Rio Olympics, where our favorite runners and, hopefully some talented newcomers, will compete for medals once again.

Just a few days ago, Los Angeles was awarded the location for the 2016 men’s and women’s U.S. Olympic marathon trials, after a close debate between LA and Houston. Max Siegel, CEO of USA Track & Field (USATF) preferred LA, despite the knowledge that a trial in Houston would have taken place earlier, allowing for more time for runners to recover if they wished to attempt the Olympic 10,000m. Athletes like 2012’s Amy Hastings and Janet Bawcom, who finished fourth and fifth in the January marathon trials went on to make the Olympic 10k team in June. Nonetheless, the LA Olympic trial will be held on Feb. 13, 2016, and will determine Team USA’s marathon entrants at the Rio Games.

A positive aspect of the LA course is its multiple loops, meant to simulate the Rio course as closely as possible. Which means, those runners which do qualify really might have the best shot at medaling in Rio. The men and women will have separate starts, and both races will be televised on NBC (right now, you can watch the Sochi Olympics on the NBC website or through Direct TV’s Universal Sports Network, available through their website).

The annual LA Marathon, whose executives were in full support of the Olympic trials bid, have moved their annual race to take place the day following the Olympic trials, in order to create a weekend-long celebration of the sport. Los Angeles hopes the marathon trials will add to their efforts to host the Summer Games in 2024.

“This is great for L.A., great for our economy. It’s great for our sports past and it’s great for our sports future. L.A. is arguably the sporting capital of the world,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti, in an interview with The Times. “I think this will be great for track and field in general in Los Angeles, for our international profile, and for the L.A. Marathon here, locally.”

Not only is the location a new choice, the time standards have also been updated since 2012’s marathons. For many elite runners, the Olympic Trials, not the Olympics themselves are the goal, and this year it will be just a little bit harder to compete. In order to guarantee a paid trip as well as an invitation to the trials, men will have to run a 2:15 or under, and women will have to finish in 2:37 or under. If runners are willing to fly out themselves they can still compete in the trials, as long as they can manage to stay under a 2:18 (men) and 2:43 (women), which is a few seconds lower than the 2:19 and 2:46 qualifications needed to run at the 2012 trials. Half-marathon times will still be acceptable; men can compete with a 1:05 and women with a 1:15. USATF official and director of events, Jim Estes, told Newswire that, “The main thing in revising the standards is to continue to ‘raise the bar.’”

There’s no doubt a large amount of hopefuls will manage to make the times and head toward Los Angeles for either the Olympic Trials, or the Los Angeles Marathon. The most popular courses to yield Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying times are the Boston Marathon in April, and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October. The course that sent the most qualifiers, in 2012, however, was the California International Marathon, which had 47 qualifiers.

Elizabeth Eckhart is a news and entertainment writer that was born and bred in Chicago. She began running cross country and track in middle school, and hasn't stopped yet! She can be reached or followed on Twitter at @elizeckhart.

Interview with a Runner

This week's runner is Matt McGeough, a new father who works in finance and lives in Brooklyn Heights. This spring he's finally getting his chance to show Boston who's boss after qualifying with his time in the NYC Marathon a few years ago. Thanks to some Hot Bird Running cross training and his commitment to early (really early) morning runs, he's ready to dominate Heartbreak Hill on April 15th.

When did you start running and why?
I became a cross country nerd my sophomore year in high school because I stopped playing soccer and my parents made me find another fall sport. Going in I figured I'd quit after a few weeks of getting in shape but I actually liked it. I've been running pretty consistently ever since.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
The good ladies at Hot Bird Running taught me that a running workout shouldn't involve only running. I thought I was in decent shape going into my first workout with Jess and Meghan but the mix of running and strength training crushed me. This training season, I've been able to avoid annoying injuries that have bothered me in the past by mixing stretching, core and lower body exercises into my workouts.

What are your current running goals? Are you training for anything? 
I qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2009 and after two aborted tries I'm finally planning to run it this year. I don't think this is the year but I'd like to eventually re-qualify at the new times.

What/who inspired or inspires you to run?
I run to challenge myself now that I'm an old man and have outgrown most competitive sports. I like the feeling of accomplishment after a long run and it helps me clear my head before or after a day of work.

Favorite way to sweat other than run?
Basketball. I play in a men's league every Saturday and have somehow managed to avoid serious injury before Boston.

What is your favorite running workout?
Any kind of interval workout. The NY winter has forced me to move a lot of my workouts indoors and the only thing that helps me keep my sanity on a treadmill is changing up speeds. I've adopted this on some of my longer outdoor runs and it makes the workouts go a lot faster.

We love.....Races

Signing up for a race is a great way to hold yourself accountable, stay on track, test your strength, stamina and endurance and experience the adrenalin rush of competition! We race a handful of times throughout the year for just those reasons AND to have fun!

We've run races from 1 to 200 miles throughout our running careers. Not all have been that great, however. What makes a great race? To us, a number of factors - race organization, the course, post race atmosphere and logistics (getting to/from the start/finish).

Here are the races that we've loved and highly recommend:

  • Eugene Marathon - great atmosphere, beautiful course and you end on Hayward Field - home to some of the best athletes in the world.
  • Boston Marathon - you're psyched you qualified and you are running on one of the most historic courses ever.
  • New York City Marathon - you will feel like a rockstar for the entire 26.2 miles.
  • Great Cow Harbor 10k - fun, fun atmosphere and the best post race food we've ever seen.
  • Buenos Aires Marathon - the best tour of Buenos Aires!
  • Battle of Brooklyn (relay) - get two friends and race around Prospect Park in this fun, easy relay.
  • Hood to Coast - the mother of all races - 200 miles from Mt. Hood to Seaside, Oregon with 11 of your friends. You've never raced this this before!

What are your favorite races and why? We are always looking for new races. Share your favorites with us!