This College Girl Can Do the Weirdest Thing While Running

This Sunday, while many of us will be sleeping off our Halloween plans, 22-year-old Northeastern senior Meredith Parmalee will be knitting her way through the New York City Marathon. 

Parmalee has never run a 26.2-mile marathon before, and she's certainly never knitted during one, but she's confident that she can do it.

"The first few miles are always the trickiest because you have to fall into a rhythm with the knitting and moving your feet at the same time," she told Her Campus. "It is more fun because it takes my mind off the fact that I am running so many miles."

Photo via We Are Knitters

Parmalee hopes to raise awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which is supported by her charity running group, Team in Training. She's also being sponsored by her former employer, We Are Knitters, which is a startup in Spain that sells knitting kits that are accessible to people of all ages. Parmalee worked with the marketing department at We Are Knitters while she was studying abroad in Madrid, which makes complete sense, given that she's studying International Business with a minor in Spanish. 

Parmalee says that her original inspiration to run while knitting actually came up as an in-office joke.

"We were brainstorming fun ideas and partnerships we could do as a brand in the office one day, and came across a man on social media who had run marathons while knitting. I was joking, and said to my boss 'I’ll do that!'" she said. "He took me seriously."

The next day, she brought yarn with her on a run to see if it was physically possible. Once she realized it was, the joke became a reality, and she began a 16-week marathon training plan.

Photo via We Are Knitters

During the NYC Marathon, Parmalee will be finger-knitting, which is a technique that requires no knitting needles. She's had to try a few techniques before finding one that worked well.

"At first I tried putting the yarn under my arm, but that made mobility difficult so instead I switched to wearing the yarn like a bracelet, and that was so much better!" she explained.

The Albany, N.Y. native learned to knit at age ten from her grandmother, and picked the hobby back up when she worked with We Are Knitters. She found that there was an entire community of passionate knitters.

Parmalee's family and friends have been a huge source of support for her throughout this challenge.

"Whenever I see someone I know on a run when I don’t have my yarn with me, they inevitably ask where it is! It’s become a part of my routine, and they expect to see it with me," she said.

Photo via We Are Knitters

If there's one takeaway Parmalee wants those who are inspired by her to have, it's this: "Be open minded." A year ago, she never expected to be knitting while running a marathon, but sometimes it's the unexpected that leads us to an incredible experience.