QU women hit the ground running

Marina McGowan

Through the park, under the arch, across the bridge and along the river there was nothing but sweat for three Quinnipiac students who participated in the 10th Annual Greater Hartford Marathon on Saturday, Oct. 11.

Family and friends gathered between the start and finish line at Bushnell Park in Hartford to cheer on sophomores Lynda Bradley, 18, Jennifer Koehler, 19, and Caitlin Macaulay, 19, as they participated in their first marathon run.

“I was able to accomplish what I did because of the group motivation,” Macaulay, an occupational therapy major from Middlesex, NJ, said.

In the 16-19 female age group, with only five women running, Bradley took first place, Macaulay took third and Koehler took fourth, with respective times of 1:54:52, 1:59:43 and 1:59:59 in the in the half marathon, or 13.1 miles.

With over 6,000 runners, the race combined the vibrancy of downtown Hartford and the autumn foliage and country roads along the Connecticut River, with neighborhoods in the city’s west end. Each mile was punctuated by entertainment, cheering spectators and loads of runner support.

Without fault, the women experienced pain and soreness after the race. Upon completion there were free massages, which Koehler, a physical therapy major from Leominster, Mass., used to her advantage.

“It still hurts to walk,” all three said in unison. “We are all sore.”

Now, as the young women continue to lace up their shoes and throw on their running gear, they are asking other students to test their own limits and be a part of their running club.

“We are encouraging people with a passion for running, just as we have, to join us,” Bradley, an occupational therapy major from Oyster Bay, NY, said.

“We want people to have fun, run races and train with us,” she continued.

The women began the procedures for starting the new club, and filled out paperwork in the beginning of the year with Kerstin Soderlund, director of the Carl Hansen Student Center. They are hoping that with enough interest, the club will expand.

The women will resume their daily runs and hope that others will join them.

Macaulay agreed with Bradley saying that she wants it to be a social event.

“I want to meet new people and have everyone come together for the same common interest,” Macaulay said.

“It is supposed to be both fun and relaxing, helping everyone relieve their stresses from school.” she continued.

Macaulay developed an interest in running from her father, who has already run two marathons. She joined the track team in high school, as did Bradley.

“I missed running as a team,” Bradley said. “I missed it so much that I wanted to start running again and start up a club for motivation and support. Although I did not run in the summer months, I joined [Koehler and Macaulay] by September.”

In order to train for the marathon, the women ran every day since their arrival at Quinnipiac this year. They ran shorter distances on the weekdays, about 30 minutes to an hour and a half, in different loops along Hogan Road and New Road areas.

The women ran longer distances on the weekends, about two hours beginning at 8 a.m., on the Farmington Canal Road bicycle trail, leading all the way to the Wal-Mart area, totaling a distance of 12 miles.

Macaulay’s father made a training program for the young women.

“My father encouraged me to start running at the age of 7, and I have continued since then,” she said.

Macaulay’s twin brother Matt also ran in the 16-19 male age group race and came in fourth place, with a time of 1:39:12. While their family and friends regarded the marathon run as impressive, most of the young women do not consider running the race to be fun.

“Many of my friends would like to join the club, but they do not want to participate in the half marathon,” Koehler said.

However, balancing both schoolwork and running is not an obstacle for any of the women.

“It’s a lot easier when you get a goal and you abide by it,” Bradley said. “We develop a schedule setting times and making time to run.”

As the winter months approach, the women are interested to see how the transition from the warm weather into the cold will be.

Macaulay is looking forward to the full marathon next year, whereas Bradley and Koehler will stick to the 13 mile race.

On a lighter note, the young women did not endure any injuries. They tell those interested in running the marathons: “expect a few blisters to be big enemies.”

If interested in joining the running club, keep an eye out for the runners as they meet outside of the Dana residence hall, or email Macaulay at [email protected] For further information on the Hartford marathon, go to www.hartfordmarathon.com.