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Thoughts on my Entry into the 2019 Chicago Marathon

A few months ago, around 30 other Northwestern students and I volunteered at the Chicago Marathon. I’ve run a few half marathons, I ran cross country and track in high school, and I grew up watching the Boston Marathon, so I figured handing out water at my new city’s big race would be a nice way to spend a Sunday — and it was! I watched elite runners like Mo Farah and non-elite runners like Kevin Hart run by; I watched crowds of spectators shriek for their loved ones and people they didn’t know; and I watched thousands of people beam as they ran past my mile-24 water stop, knowing they were two miles away from becoming marathon finishers. The energy was infectious.

And now, I’m running the Chicago Marathon next October. Whoa.

On a whim, a friend and I sent in applications after volunteering, figuring that we’d never get chosen — Chicago is a super popular marathon, and the lottery system makes it near impossible for first-time marathoners to gain entry. But somehow, we both got selected.

When I received the notification email this morning, I first felt really nervous. I’ve never run this far! I’ve never trained this much! People have died from running marathons! What am I doing?! I thought. I was terrified, and to be honest, part of me still is. This will take a ton of diligent training, and even with that, I could still fail. 

But then I remembered why I signed up in the first place. The marathon is the next step up from the half marathon — which I've completed twice — and I'd like to challenge myself. I want to try this distance at least once just to see if I can do it. I want to hear strangers cheer for me, I want to cross a marathon finish line, and I want to call myself a marathoner. (It would also be cool to finally earn that 26.2 sticker so many people place on the backs of their cars!) 

So, when I start to get intimidated or overwhelmed in these next 10 months before the race, I’ll remember why I originally chose to do this: because I want to challenge myself and, simply, because I like running. I've always aspired to run a marathon, so here's my chance. I know that the hardest things I’ve done have often been the most rewarding, so hopefully this Chicago Marathon will be another instance of that. Fingers crossed.

(Time to channel my inner Rocky!)

Image Courtesy of Giphy

Sophia Scanlan

Northwestern '22

Sophia Scanlan is a freshman from Boston, Mass., majoring in History with a minor in Psychology. In her free time (the little that she has!), Sophia likes to read, bake cookies, find the best sales, exercise, and spend time with friends! She's also quite possibly the biggest Red Sox fan out there....
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