Three Regis DPT students put aside their studies for a weekend and ran the Boston Marathon. Congratulations to Jenna Carlson (3:43:44), Lauren Hill (3:06:06) and Nolan Ripple (2:49:29) for racing and representing our program!
Name: Nolan Ripple, Class of 2018
Undergrad: University of Portland, OR
Hometown: Peoria, AZ
Fun Fact: Lacrosse player freshly converted to marathon enthusiast.
Some History on the Boston Marathon:
The Boston Marathon is one of those things that runners dream about. The legacy, culture, international diversity, and enthusiasm that it brings are bar-none top in the world for marathons. The Boston Marathon is the oldest continuing running marathon in the world, with its debut in 1897. On April 17 2017, I was fortunate enough to run in the 121st running of this prestigious event. For a little background, there are qualifying times for each age group in order to partake. In my own age group, males 18-34 years old, the cut-off times for selection were 3 hours, 2 minutes, 51 seconds. That comes out to be just about 6:59 pace/mile for 26.2 miles. Rigorous qualifying standards are one of the chief reasons why this race holds so much honor.
This was also the 50th year celebrating women running in the race. The first woman to do so, Kathrine Switzer, was 20 years old when she ran and completed the Boston Marathon. It’s an interesting story: she had to register under the name “K.V. Switzer” to feign a guy’s name, in order to receive a race bib. And during the race, a Boston Athletic official tried to rip the bib off of her, but she kept running. Eventually, she finished the race, and started a tradition of males and females competing each year in this run. It’s the spirit that Kathrine had that inspires runners from all nations today.
I was a lax bro in undergrad, but a concussion my senior year made me decide it was time to be a Forest Gump for my last year college. Completing a marathon was my first official running goal, and I did that in May 2015 with a time of 3:25:32. Shortly after, I set my sights on Boston, and worked my butt off to achieve a qualifying time in my next marathon—Phoenix 2016 with 3:01:59, and then Eugene 2016 at 2:55:44. Going to Boston was a dream—namely because it was the first big goal I had set for myself. My marathon buddy, also conveniently named Nolan, was going to be running with me. In addition, both of our families were there (shout out to my Crazy Aunt Cathy). I scored big: a trip to Boston, time off of school, and my dad with his credit card to pay for everything out there!
Boston itself is worth another story. Great place, amazing people, and awesome food. Ask Leigh Dugan (’18) if you have further Boston questions.
Fast-forward to Race Day: April 17th. I had to wake up bright and early to get shuttled from Boston out to Hopkinton because the race is a one-way shot starting in a suburb west of the city. Upon arriving, there is a massive Athletes’ Village with bananas, bagels, coffee, Gatorade, water, and some tents to relax under. I had been on an intentional 3-day coffee withdrawal, so the buzz was about to get real. Thousands of people were shuttling in, and in total, 30,000 runners went through that village. I met up with Lauren Hill (Class of 2017), and she hooked me up with some pre-workout gum and extra gels (aka liquid play-doh). We chilled out at the tent for a bit, and then made our way on the .7 mile walk to the start line. Love how we get to walk .7 miles to the start line pre-marathon… Not like I’m worried about hitting my daily FitBit goal. I got to my corral, hit the bathroom like 4 times, and then joined a mob of skinny freaks like me in the gate. Luckily, I was in Corral 2 of Wave 1, so I got in there early and all comfy with my fellow strangers. We also got to watch the “elites” walk by, who are basically Olympian super-humans.
Fast-forward to Race Day: April 17th. I had to wake up bright and early to get shuttled from Boston out to Hopkinton because the race is a one-way shot starting in a suburb west of the city. Upon arriving, there is a massive Athletes’ Village with bananas, bagels, coffee, Gatorade, water, and some tents to relax under. I had been on an intentional 3-day coffee withdrawal, so the bfuzz was about to get real. Thousands of people were shuttling in, and in total, 30,000 runners went through that village. I met up with Lauren Hill (Class of 2017), and she hooked me up with some pre-workout gum and extra gels (aka liquid play-doh). We chilled out at the tent for a bit, and then made our way on the .7 mile walk to the start line. Love how we get to walk .7 miles to the start line pre-marathon… Not like I’m worried about hitting my daily FitBit goal. I got to my corral, hit the bathroom like 4 times, and then joined a mob of skinny freaks like me in the gate. Luckily, I was in Corral 2 of Wave 1, so I got in there early and all comfy with my fellow strangers. We also got to watch the “elites” walk by, who are basically Olympian super-humans.
Lauren Hill (’17) and Nolan Ripple (’18) share a picture before their race
The gun went off at 10:00, and we were under way. The first 3 miles are almost impossible to pass, because it’s like an endless herd of cattle running to the feeding lot. It’s also mostly downhill and flat for the first 5-10 miles, so 99% of runners go out too fast and have it come back to haunt them later. At mile 5 it’s really hard to know how you’re going to feel at 25—pro tip. It was also a really warm day for running. The course started at 74 and sunny, which may sound perfect. But when you’re depleting your body of water and electrolytes for 26+ miles, you’d rather have it 20 degrees cooler. Anyways, you can’t bitch because it’s part of the fun, and a race is never perfect. I digress, so back to the race! I’m sitting at a nice pace, feeling good, when I realize we’re running by the Wellesley College girls somewhere around mile 13. It’s an extraordinary stretch of girls that are holding signs asking for all sorts of things, and a probable drop out point for single males. I gave some high fives, laughed a bit, blew some kisses, and kept jamming. Shortly after, I ran by a group that I presume to be Boston University students, which I would like to call the “Booze Tunnel.” It was about 11:30 am, but 5 o’clock for this rowdy bunch. I considered taking a celeb-shot on the Beer Pong table, but worried that I’d be left dusted by the Chilean dude running next to me. Somewhere around mile 15 or 16, my GI system decided to implode, kinda like a Michael Bay film. I found the nearest porta potty, deciding losing a couple minutes was better than dealing with a disaster situation. Back on course after that though. I decided Espresso Gu’s wouldn’t be the fuel of source anymore, because I’d end up comatose in a porta potty for sure. So I took an endurance gum this time. It gave quite the kick, and got me rolling again up to Heartbreak Hill.
At the hill, I saw Tiffany (Class of 2018) and Mike who were cheering loudly. Mike had a beer for me, but I had to politely pass (hopefully the only time I say no to a beer ever again). Going up Heartbreak Hill was challenging, but I knew flats and downhills followed to the finish. I popped another endurance gum in around mile 21 and kept going. At this point, you just keep trying to put one foot in front of the other, because all joints start to hurt. I always wonder if this is what old age is like. The last 5 miles of the course were completely packed with spectators; this was incredible. I had an American flag on a stick that I kept with me all race (not sure why still), but people loved it. Coming down the final corner on Boylston street, I saw my family and family friends… alas! I was in a mental limbo of ecstasy and fatigue, but passing them was the final fuel for me to finish. They are all amazing! I came across that final stretch thinking of all the friends, family, colleagues, teachers, and strangers who have supported me in running, and in life altogether. I had tears in my eyes when I finished, not from pain, but joy, gratitude, and humility.
If you have read this far, you are one of those people I am talking about. The support you guys have given me is UNREAL. This was more than a race to me, it was about setting a goal, working hard, and having others propel me towards a dream. I lived that dream on April 17, 2017. I finished in 2:49:29, which was a PR for me. I have many more goals now set, but this was a big one. I run because I love it, and I love to compete. Boston gave me both.
Passion and persistence are two tenants I strive to live by. Finding a passion, and pursuing it are two staples that I cling close to. It’s easy to be passionate about something for a week, two weeks, or even a year. But keeping the same drive day in and day out is a bear. People saw the last 26.2 miles of training, but not the 1,500 miles that preceded it.
This whole experience was so rewarding because I saw 30,000 other people pursuing something similar to me, and that fire that comes with running. It’s an art, an expression of oneself. Others find it in different ways, whether it be in their profession, other hobbies, or relationships they build with others. It’s amazing to see what’s possible when you love something, and when so many other people go out of their way to support you on that journey. I love you all for being the kindling to my fire. Thank you!!!
Name: Jenna (Carlson) Jarvis, Class of 2017
Undergrad: Boise State University
Hometown: Broomfield, CO
Fun Fact: My personal record in the mile is a 5:09, but I still would really like to go sub-5 someday.
Boston is a one of a kind race. Beyond the prestige associated with running one of the few US marathons that requires a qualifying time, everyone told me that people would be cheering me on the entire 26.2 miles and the magic of the race would carry me. They were right.
The race starts off with you and your closest 7,000 similarly paced friends, standing too close for comfort in a small coral, waiting for that gun to go off. When it finally does go off, don’t expect to actually start: it will take a while for everyone in front of you to start moving! The next few miles are still crowded with people running a similar pace, guiding you along to the pace you should be running when you want to hurry down the hills. The remainder of the race follows the roads of different towns going toward Boston; they’re all lined with cheering fans and accessorized with an insane number of volunteers handing out hundreds of cups of water and police officers and military personal ensuring you are safe.
When people told me there would be people cheering the entire course, I thought they were exaggerating. They were not. It is one of the most incredible and exhilarating things I have experienced in a race. Within each town, there were hundreds of people that line the streets, screaming, holding signs, handing out orange slices and water bottles, and giving you all the encouragement you could possibly need from a crowd.
One of my favorite parts of the race was around mile 13 in Wellesley, MA, home to Wellesley College. Here, the enthusiasm and energy of the college students was even higher than the previous crowds; I got a big boost of energy, purely because these women looked like they are having so much fun cheering people on and it reminded me that I should be having fun, too!
The thing I loved the most about running the Boston marathon, however, was the incredible people running the race. The elites run the marathon in incredible times, but I can’t help but be amazed by what can be done by the rest of us 40,000 mortals. The energy at the starting line is so supportive and exciting. Then, as the course drags on and on and as people are getting more and more exhausted, there was (if possible) even more encouragement given to each other. A man came up to me around mile 11 and asked how I was doing. I lied and told him I was doing alright, and he replied that he was having a hard time with the heat. I told him he would get through and be fine and he told me the same; this little act of encouragement and kindness meant so much to me. I saw athletes with amputations and in wheelchairs powering up hills, and it inspired me to keep pushing on when I was hurting because they were probably working harder and hurting more. I saw runners helping others who were delirious from exhaustion. I saw some runners carry a woman across the finish line when her legs were no longer willing to carry her. How can you not be inspired by these people and the incredible things they do for each other?
The race I ran was not what I had wanted. It was certainly the hardest, most painful race I have ever run. As a PT student, very often our clinicals, boards, and life take precedence over training (as they rightfully should!). Those things took a much larger toll on me and my training than I thought and would have liked. Even so, I gave everything I had out on that course that day, and for that I am happy. Overall, the Boston Marathon did not disappoint.