Shoshana Weiner, a senior majoring in geological sciences, ran the Boston Marathon yesterday with the Tufts Marathon Team. She said she first got involved with the team during her sophomore year, when she volunteered at the marathon race.
“I heard about [the team] freshman year, but I was a little scared,” she said. “But I ran track and field and cross country in high school and I didn’t want the commitment of a full-time athlete, and so… I decided to go out on a run and [now] I’ve been running with them for the past three years.”
Weiner said she appreciates how Marathon Team Coach Don Megerle is able to bring a sense of unity to the team.
“Don is great. He made a huge effort to get to know me right away because I was a sophomore,” Weiner said. “It was just … welcoming, and I’ve met so many other runners that I only know [because] they are my running friends too.”
She also said she enjoys how low-key her commitment to the team has been.
“It’s what you make out of it,” she said. “There’s no pressure; the only person I’m trying to ‘beat’ is myself. I just really appreciated the laid back feel which differs from an organized sport.”
Weiner outlined her training plan for this year’s marathon, which involved three days of running per week.
“Obviously this year I made a huge effort to commit to everything, to train,” she said. “You start off with your normal seven [miles] and move up to nine and then eventually eleven. Throughout the year there’s long runs along the [Boston Marathon] course … You [build up to] your twenty mile run along the Boston Marathon course and then you taper back down.”
According to Weiner, remembering the Boston Marathon bombings drove her to work extra hard to train this year.
“My freshman year, I volunteered at the [Boston Marathon]. I was there on race day,” she said. “[The bombings] just made me feel more invested in running the Boston Marathon at some point in my life, and I’ve gone for the [Boston Marathon] every year because I’m minorly obsessed with running, so I was there in 2013. I feel a little more inspired, driven.”
Weiner said that the team hasn’t changed much in the years she’s been a part of it.
“Don does the same thing every year,” she said. “Obviously there’s new people, new faces, but Don continually puts forth the same amount of effort every year.”
According to Weiner, Megerle keeps the team motivated with daily or weekly inspirational emails, and each year he creates a book for the runners.
“He takes pictures of us all the time and catches me at my worst; he spends hours, [literally] hours,” Weiner said. “I went to visit him last week and he was just making books. [They’re] to give to all the runners running the [Boston Marathon], with all the pictures of us running and everyone on the team along with hints [such as] things on eating, recovery, tapering, inspirational quotes. He wrote a little message at the beginning and it was really cute.”
Weiner also said that the community of runners is very tight.
“It’s a little sub-community, you have your Tufts Marathon Team running community and it is what you make out of it,” she said.
One example of this community in action is a friend that Weiner made through the team.
“I met a girl this year, who ended up being my pace,” she said. “She just kept showing up to practice, and I started running with her, and now we’re great friends and we run on our own together outside of practice which is really fun.”
Weiner said she also appreciates the structure of marathon training, and in the three years since she began running with the group, she has been able to keep the same running schedule and build it into her daily routine.
“I loved it my first year because I knew I had some place to be, to run,” she said. “It makes you get out of bed in the morning, in the winter when it’s cold and you don’t want to get out of bed and start your day. It makes you work toward something all year long, and you start in October and you have until April to reach that point. And it keeps you going. And Coach is there the entire way.”
She added that she enjoys running and the community that the marathon team provides.
“Running is how I relieve stress, how I relax,” Weiner said. “It’s the one thing I do for myself each day. Just to have this community to support me in that and of happy people and with Coach is fantastic. I love it.”