DISCLAIMER: Before attempting any long run or any fitness regimen consult your physician and see if it’s right for you. Running a half marathon is a big step for anyone, but a college student? It sounds crazy. With our already hectic schedules and our neverending time eaters, the thought of being able to run a half marathon is not only impressive but makes me wonder how can these people do it? To find out, I talked to two amazing young women who did it.
Founding member of the Her Campus Ole Miss chapter, former president of Girl Up at Ole Miss and overall badass, Claire Biggerstaff ran the St. Jude half-marathon alongside her was her friend Anna Kate, who also served as a supportive character and training buddy on Fridays.
“We would send each other Snapchats or texts when we ran or when we failed to run,” Biggerstaff laughed. “And encourage each other. We also did our long runs together every Friday morning and then we would go get breakfast. That was really helpful because those runs are the hardest to find the time and motivation for.
Anna Kate was also a great buddy because she had family members who had done this before so they knew good training tips and introduced us to electrolyte gummies to help through long runs. Anna Kate is also just super kind and positive and a joy to be around so that made the process more fun.”
Biggerstaff, an Atlanta native, and English major was embarking on a different type of fitness this time. A lifelong athlete, Biggerstaff had been involved in sports her whole life whether it be basketball or cross-country.
Informal training began in the summer for them, but a stricter routine continued around October, according to Biggerstaff. She said that despite trying to keep up with running schedules though, school was her first priority- which sometimes meant missing days. Biggerstaff had a setback during training as she was going to try to strength train but ended up with a minor injury.
“Some weeks the only run I did was the one with Anna Kate on Friday. But that was why it was so great we had that tradition,” Biggerstaff said.
But despite setbacks or challenges, Biggerstaff and Anna Kate made it across that finish line on December 7, 2019.
A lifelong athlete, Biggerstaff has been involved in sports for years. From basketball to cross country – Biggerstaff has enjoyed an active lifestyle before running the St. Jude half-marathon.
“I think it’s a great thing to do in the busy life of college,” Biggerstaff said. “It’s my thinking time. I don’t have to respond to any emails or text. For 30 minutes it’s me, my form, my breath, and my music. It’s like a meditative practice for me. All of college I have gone on runs when I get really overwhelmed or emotional it just instantly calms my nerves.”
When Biggerstaff talked about what she would say to a person thinking about running the St. Jude half-marathon she said just to keep going.
“Even if you start off running for just a minute then walking,” Biggerstaff said. “Eventually you’ll get in the groove and it will be such a great outlet!”
ADDITIONAL LINKS: If you’re thinking about running a half-marathon and need a running plan, here’s one I found available online through womensrunning.com