Northeastern at the Marathon

Northeastern at the Marathon

By Erin Semagin Damio

Murray Forman wasn’t sure where he would watch the Boston Marathon Monday, but he knew to anticipate mixed feelings.

“I’ve run it for 11 consecutive years,” the Northeastern communications studies professor said, adding that this year he qualified, but is unable to run because of an injury. Forman hosted a runner this year, and said he still felt very much a part of the marathon.

“It’s with tears in my eyes that I’ll be watching,” he said before the race.

Forman is one of several members of the Northeastern community involved in this prestigious Boston race.

Hanna Brewer, a junior Spanish and secondary education major, competed in the marathon with her friend Sophia Diamntis, a senior economics and international affairs major.

Brewer and Diamntis used the competition as a fundraiser for the Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis, and have raised over $2,000 in the past month. This was their first marathon.

“It’s more about the adrenaline right now,” Brewer said, just under a week before the race. She stressed the importance of entering the race with Diamntis. She added, “I wouldn’t have been able to do it if I didn’t have a training partner.”

Bill Giessen, a chemistry and chemical biology professor, remembers when he was first inspired to run the marathon with a partner.

“My daughter ran her first one at age 14, and the next year I said ‘Let’s do it together,'” Giessen said. “We went hand-in-hand across the line. The next year I said ‘Let’s do it well’ and shifted my training.”

Giessen’s daughter wasn’t interested in the additional training, however, and he stopped running the Boston Marathon about 20 years ago, though he still follows and watches the race.

Vanessa Gormley, a graduate student studying nursing, was another enthusiastic competitor. She competed in her first marathon in 2002.

“Having Boston be your first marathon, especially when you live here, is an amazing feeling,” Gormley said. “It’s such a big race that people come from all over the world for, and racing it in your hometown is tremendous.”

Forman echoed her sentiments.

“It’s like the big kahuna of marathons,” Forman said. “It’s the one everyone wants to get into and it’s different having it as your home marathon.”

Forman said watching the marathon this year was bittersweet, as he had never been a spectator before. He chose to observe it on Boylston Street.

“I love to watch the transition in people at the last mile as they realize, ‘Oh my god, I’m going to finish the Boston Marathon,'” Forman said. “I implicitly understood the various dispositions on display – the sheer and unregulated joy on the runners’ faces, the grit and determination in their stride, and in fewer cases, the pain, anguish and disorientation of being completely tapped out.”

Gormley said that she loves the crowd and the mood at the marathon, and some of the stories of the runners.

“Seeing some of the athletes that are there every year is tremendous,” she said.

She said this year’s marathon probably wasn’t her best, probably because of a change in her pre-race breakfast, but advises anybody considering the run to try it.

“Between its famed history, the enthusiastic crowd and the glory of its finish, the Boston Marathon is certainly an experience of a lifetime that shouldn’t be missed,” she said

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