Saint Anselm Runners Conquer the Boston Marathon

April 23, 2007

Saint Anselm's Boston Marathon runners

Saint Anselm student John Harran ‘08 ran the 111th Boston Marathon for the first time April 16, crossing the finish line with a highly respectable time of four and a half hours in the worst weather conditions since 1970. Boston Athletic Association president Tom Gilk said of Monday’s race, “A day that by all accounts shouldn’t have happened” reported The Boston Globe. However, 13 years ago, at the age of nine, Harran vowed to complete the Boston Marathon as a tribute to his father, a marathon runner and member of the Boston Police Runners Club, who passed away in 1993.

Harran was just one of 20 students, two alumni, and one professor who made up the annual contingent of Saint Anselm College runners. In preparation for the long haul from Hopkinton to Boston, students trained with cross country coach and psychology professor Paul Finn. For four months the group ran on pavement and trails, building up to a long, 20 mile run and then slowly tapering before the big day. Professor Finn said this year’s group had a good combination of first timers and returners, which is “great because they help one another out.”

Harran ran the 26.2 miles in the wind and rain wearing the Marine Corp Marathon jacket that his father had worn in the same race in 1987. He said he actually picked up speed at the end of the race, never even realizing that he was crossing “heartbreak” hill because he was so focused on the crowds and the feeling of incredible accomplishment that his father had told him about so many years before. “You feel exhilarated when you push your body to the level that you have to in a marathon,” said Harran.

The group’s marathon journey once again began at the home of Trustee Michael Sullivan ‘70 and his wife, Anne-Marie, who supplied the pre-race bagels. The group then assembled at the starting line in their Saint Anselm singlets ready for the challenge that lay ahead. After all was said and done, the group met again on Tuesday for post-race ice cream at the coffee shop.


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