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Meet your 2018 EF Boston Marathon runners

Here in Boston, the Boston Marathon is legendary. Runners and athletes from all over the world flock to the city to compete in the 26.2-mile race famous for its rolling hills and loud, cheering fans lined along every step of the course. The competition is tough, with runners needing a fast qualifying time just to enter, while others commit to raising thousands of dollars for their favorite charity in order to claim a race bib.

At EF Education First we love a good competition, so it’s no surprise that we have six brave EF staff members lining up at the start in Hopkinton, Massachusetts early Monday morning to participate. We wanted to share a little of their running stories and wish them the best of luck on Monday!

Amy EF Boston Marathon

Amy, Business Analyst for EF Educational Tours 

EF Office: Boston
Number of years at EF: 3.5

How many Boston marathons have you run?
Three—this will be my fourth!

Why are you running Boston this year?
To beat my time from last year. I am very competitive with myself, and I am always trying to get faster and faster. (Editor’s note: Amy’s speedy qualifying time was a 3:12!)

What’s your favorite thing about running in Boston?
Definitely the Boston running community. When you go out to the Newton Hills on any Saturday morning between January and April, there are literally thousands of runners out there training, no matter the weather. Everyone is so supportive of and excited for each other and the energy is contagious. It’s hard not to believe in yourself when you see so many other people out there doing the same work as you!

What’s your go-to running mantra?
Relax. I am a much better runner when I can take a step back and breathe. Finding a relaxed stride in the middle of a long race is really centering; it reminds me of why I love running so much.

Where’s the best place you’ve gone for a run?
This is a hard one because anyone who knows me knows that I bring my running shoes everywhere I go! I did a half marathon in Edinburgh, Scotland with my dad a few years ago and it to this day is one of my happiest memories. It was a beautiful course, perfect weather, there were bagpipes playing… it was amazing.

What do you love most about running?
Running makes me feel brave and strong. I love the sense of community running has given me both at EF and beyond, and I am constantly inspired by other runners around me.

What about the Boston Marathon are you looking forward to most?
Seeing my hard work pay off with a PR (personal record) and then celebrating with family and friends afterwards!

How do you stick to your running routine while traveling?
Keeping a flexible mindset is helpful, because traveling forces you out of your normal routine. If I can get in three miles as opposed to the five or six I was hoping to do, I call that a win. Running is also a speedy way to get to know a new city you are in!

Favorite post-long-run indulgence?
Tacos and margaritas. Always.

Celia Boston Marathon

Celia, Customized Itinerary Specialist for EF Educational Tours

EF Office: Boston
Number of years at EF:5.5

How many Boston marathons have you run?
Zero—this is my first marathon ever!

Why are you running Boston this year?
After about five years of living in Boston, I decided that 2018 was the year to check the Boston Marathon off of my “Boston Bucket List”—as a spectator. So when my orchestra, The Brookline Symphony, asked me to run and fundraise for them, I initially declined. Then, to my surprise, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. If I wanted to go to the Boston Marathon, why not actually run it and get the full experience? So here I am, a few months later and ready to line up at that start line in Hopkinton….

What charity are you running for?
I’m running for the Brookline Symphony Orchestra as part of Team Brookline. As a violist in the orchestra, I know firsthand that this organization fosters a sense of community through music. Not only do they provide affordable classical music concerts within the Brookline community, they also perform free outreach concerts around the area for organizations like nursing homes and schools. As an amateur musician new to the Boston area, the Brookline Symphony Orchestra provided me with a creative outlet after a long day of work and, most importantly, it has now given me lifelong friends.

What’s your favorite thing about running in Boston?
There is an amazing sense of community along the marathon route during training season. Every Saturday there are hundreds of runners out training with their teams, tables set up with fuel and snacks, and friendly faces and kids giving high fives. It’s made every weekend into a mini fun-run and helped me power through those tougher moments.

Where’s the best place you’ve gone for a run?
I used to work at a music camp in rural Ontario, Canada. We’d go for a casual run with some of the campers in the morning and then all jump into Lake Ontario to cool off afterward. It was a great way to start the day!

What do you love most about running?
It gives me designated thinking time. I don’t run with music, which I know seems crazy, but it’s a great time for me to sort through my thoughts and clear my head.

What about the Boston Marathon are you looking forward to most?
The community aspect; the whole city coming together to support the athletes and have a good time celebrating the place they call home.

How do you stick to your running routine while traveling?
I often don’t! Usually my training has some buffer room in it, so I don’t stress too much about it. Life’s all about balance!

Favorite post-long-run indulgence?
Some quality couch and TV time.

Heather, Brand Director for EF Academy  

EF Office: Zurich
Number of years at EF: Just under a year

How many Boston marathons have you run?
This is my first one!

Why are you running Boston this year?
Running the Boston Marathon has been a dream of mine since I started participating in marathons. It’s the oldest and probably most historic marathon race in the world. I made an attempt to qualify a little over a year ago and managed to do it in 3:31:31, so there was no question that I would run this year!

What’s your favorite thing about running in Boston?
While I’m an American, I’ve been living in Switzerland in the last few years and have only raced marathons in Europe. I’m so excited to run my first U.S. marathon! Plus, my family will be there to cheer me on.  

What’s your go-to running mantra?
Just keep running, just keep running (channeling my inner Dory from Finding Nemo).

Where’s the best place you’ve gone for a run?
This is a tough question, but I would say the Jungfrau marathon in Interlaken, Switzerland. It was a gorgeous day full of cool alpine air, sunshine and a mountaintop finish overlooking the Alps.

What do you love most about running?
I love the flow—the feeling and awareness of my mind and body. It’s become a kind of spiritual ritual.

What about the Boston Marathon are you looking forward to most?
The full experience. This race is not about time, but about soaking up every moment along the way: the local support, the challenging course, the possibility of meeting the running legends I admire, the post-race beer. I also can’t wait for my family and friends to be there to experience this with me.

How do you stick to your running routine while traveling?
It’s not easy, but planning ahead and being flexible is what helps me stay on track. I also enjoy seeing places through my runs, it’s a great way to explore!

Favorite post-long-run indulgence?
Depends on the time of day. In the morning? A cappuccino and chocolate croissant. Afternoon or evening? A good beer.

Gretchen EF Boston Marathon

Gretchen, User Experience Researcher with EF Educational Tours

EF office: Boston
Number of years at EF: 4.5

How many Boston marathons have you run?
None! This is my first time running a marathon, ever. I’m only a little terrified…

Why are you running Boston this year?
I have a lot of running influencers in my life, most notably my older sister, who just ran Tokyo and is now part of the elite group that has run all six World Major Marathons. I never thought I would run a marathon, but this time last spring, my running really changed and I started to think I could actually do it. I just decided, it’s now or never.

What charity are you running for?
I’m running for Samaritans, which is a Suicide Prevention Hotline. I’ve had my own experiences related to mental health, and I spent some time volunteering on the hotline in Boston. I can’t express enough how much hotlines like Samaritans & The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (NSPL) make an impact on people struggling, people who feel like they have no one to turn to for support. Mental illnesses and depression affect hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. and result in 100-120 suicides per day, on average. I couldn’t be more excited to run on behalf of this organization.

What’s your favorite thing about running in Boston?
Boston is a beautiful city to run in, especially along the Esplanade. But honestly my favorite thing about it is that this is where my true running self was born, thanks to the EF running club and specifically Mark Mercer!

What’s your go-to running mantra?
“If I could run 40 miles at the EF adventure run, I can do this!”

Where’s the best place you’ve gone for a run?
Hawaii! I visited my younger sister there last spring and got to take advantage of the warmth and beauty.

What do you love most about running?
I think as a runner, you’re able to watch yourself transform and improve continuously. I started with just a mile, then two, then four, and now am running some of my fastest independent miles ever. That’s really exciting, especially recognizing how much work goes into it. I like knowing that I can keep getting better and having goals to work toward. On top of that, there’s nothing like going for a run with a friend, especially the ones at EF.

What about the Boston Marathon are you looking forward to most?
The crowds. I’ve heard it’s an amazing feeling and I’m just excited to get out on the course and see it for myself.

How do you stick to your running routine while traveling?
I run in the morning, to commit to doing it. At the same time, I recognize that when you’re traveling, your schedule isn’t set like it is at home.

Favorite post-long-run indulgence?
Chocolate!

Daniel Boston Marathon 2018

Dan, Traveler Support Specialist for EF Explore America

EF Office: Boston
Number of years at EF: 2.5 years

How many Boston marathons have you run?
This will be my first Boston, but third marathon.

Why are you running Boston this year?
Running Boston has been a goal of mine since I first got into running in middle school. When I was just beginning to love running I became motivated to run the Boston Marathon as an adult someday because I learned that my grandfather ran the race a few times in the early 90s. Now deceased, he was one of the first people I called right after I ran my first marathon in October 2014.

What charity are you running for?
Bottom Line. It allows me to fulfill a goal I’ve had since I took up running at 11 years old, while benefitting a cause that I 100% believe in on a personal and professional level. Living in the Boston area I have gained a firm grasp on the uphill battle many students face based on their socio-economic status. I appreciate that Bottom Line exists as an organization that challenges the status quo and strives to give all students the best opportunity to find success.

What’s your favorite thing about running in Boston?
Having gone to Boston University and lived in this city for seven years now, I truly feel at home running in this city. Every “Marathon Monday” I watch the runners go by, cheer loudly until my voice gets hoarse, and embrace them in some sweaty hugs. Every runner has a specific reason for running, and it’s truly inspiring to celebrate this major accomplishment with them. The communal culture and camaraderie around running in Boston is second to none.

What’s your go-to running mantra?
I like the quote from Steve Prefontaine, legendary American runner, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”

Where’s the best place you’ve gone for a run?
I recently traveled to Australia for a family wedding. I had the opportunity to go for a run along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. A few days later I went for a long run along the Sydney Harbour where I stumbled upon the Sydney Opera House. Noting compares to that!

What do you love most about running?
I love the sense of freedom and reflection I can get while on a run. It’s a sport that allows me to train hard towards a long-term goal, push myself through moments of pain, and bask in the accomplishment. Since running is so simple, primal, and pure, it means that anyone can do it and love it.

What about the Boston Marathon are you looking forward to most?
I’m beyond elated to experience the energy and the magnitude of the crowds while I’m on the course and on the other side of the spectator barricades for the first time.

How do you stick to your running routine while traveling?
I force myself to get up and get out extra early (with the help of a loving nudge of encouragement from my girlfriend). This way I experience the break of dawn at a new place in the world, and I have plenty of time left to explore the rest of my day.

Favorite post-long-run indulgence?
All. The. Food.

Robin Boston Marathon 2018

Robin, Director of Business Development and Partnerships at EF Go Ahead Tours

EF Office: Boston
Number of years at EF: 5.5

How many Boston marathons have you run?
This will be my second Boston and my eighth marathon.

Why are you running Boston this year?
My sister qualified at the Baystate Marathon last year and I promised I would run with her. She was the inspiration for my dad and me to run again this year.

What charity are you running for?
Dana Farber. I have too many family members and friends whose lives have been forever impacted by cancer. We have run for Dana Farber before and they provide an incredible network and support system.

What’s your favorite thing about running in Boston?
The river, the landmarks, and the people. Everything is familiar so it makes the miles fly by. Plus, it’s beautiful.

What’s your go-to running mantra?
Thanks to Dory it’s “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

Where’s the best place you’ve gone for a run?
Both sides of the river in London. There’s much to look at and it’s impossible to get lost!

What do you love most about running?
It’s zen. It’s downtime and it’s personal. I love running with people and I love running alone. I like the way my thoughts just go and I come up with all kinds of ideas. I love looking at things much more closely than while biking or driving—houses, gardens, buildings, people, intersections. I like being in the middle of everything.

What about the Boston Marathon are you looking forward to most?
The fans! Race day is exhilarating, you can do so much more than you imagine on regular training days because people are actually cheering for you. It’s incredible!

How do you stick to your running routine while traveling?
Pack your shoes and headphones and head out early. Just do it!

Favorite post-long-run indulgence?
A burger. A big juicy burger. I can’t wait.

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