- Steve Addazio's inaugural press conference as Boston College head football coach (pg. 9)
- Wake Forest University president Nathan Hatch's keynote address at the Sesquicentennial symposium "Religion and the Liberal Aims of Higher Education" (pg. 34)
- David B. Couturier, OFM Cap., on "New Evangelization for Today's Parish" (pg. 42)
- Guerilla Orchestra: the Callithumpian Consort and student musicians rehearse John Zorn's Cobra (pg. 10)
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Hopkinton to Boston, in 18 weeks
At 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday in late January, some four dozen undergraduate members of the Boston College Campus School marathon team met for their first group run. Outside, it was a cloudy 23 degrees, and crusts of old snow patched the ground. Inside the Flynn Recreation Complex, the runners, clad in black yoga pants, maroon and gold hoodies, skin-tight Under Armour, ski hats, and headbands, were splayed out across the basketball courts stretching their quads and hamstrings, some chatting in small groups, others tuned in to their iPods. On the court nearest the door, an upperclassman issued directions for the seven-mile run: west along the Commonwealth Avenue carriageway, a U-turn at Chestnut Street, then back to campus.
Some 350 students signed up this year to run the Boston Marathon on behalf of the Campus School, which is located in Campion Hall, home of the Lynch School of Education. Publicly funded and nonprofit, the Campus School serves special-needs children with multiple disabilities—43 students from the greater Boston area are curently enrolled. On the morning of April 16, Marathon Monday, 290 members of the school’s marathon team joined the crowd of more than 20,000 runners behind the starting line in Hopkinton, 26-plus miles from the finish line in Back Bay Boston. Each had agreed to raise at least $175 in donations for the school. In exchange they’d received a day-by-day training schedule for the 18 weeks between fall final exams and race day, as well as invitations to group runs and consultations with a Boston College dietician and running advisors from local retailer Marathon Sports. All this had been arranged by the Campus School Volunteers, an undergraduate group some 300-strong that supports the Campus School through fundraising and by providing special programs for the school’s students, ranging from holiday parties to literacy projects. This is the marathon team’s 16th year; it began in 1996 with half a dozen runners.
Among those training that January morning was Corleone Delaveris, a lightly built freshman who was preparing for his first marathon. “One of the things I thought about when I was coming to Boston College was, it’d be really cool to try to run the Boston Marathon,” he said. In high school he was a varsity athlete in swimming and track, but he was nervous about the course. “It’s very hilly here. Those hills just kill my shins. I’m used to Ohio, which is flat,” said the Columbus native.
The training schedule set out by the Campus School Volunteers called for runs of double-digit mileage on Sundays, cross training (swimming, biking, weights) on Mondays, and three days of midweek running sandwiched by two days of rest. (A typical February week included runs of three miles, seven miles, and four miles on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.) The mileage would increase as the weeks passed. It was no small challenge for a chemistry major who serves as an editor for Elements, the undergraduate research journal, and has designs on trying out for the wind ensemble (Delaveris plays alto saxophone). “I try not to psych myself out,” he said in March. “I think: Running is something I enjoy doing, and I’m going to run today.” Running under the Campus School banner was a motivator. “It’s much easier to stand when you have something to stand for,” Delaveris says.
The team’s longest training run took place on a Sunday morning in late March, a little more than three weeks before the race. Ferried to Hopkinton on buses, 275 runners set off from the marathon starting line at around 9:45, headed for Boston College 21 miles away. Minutes before, stifling yawns at the early hour, they had stretched on the town common. And they had regarded the life-sized bronze of a kind-faced man in a fedora pointing a pistol toward the clouds, the statue of the town’s George V. Brown, who “started” more than 30 marathons. This was as close as the students would come to an official marathon start. The Campus School runners are not yet recognized as a charity team by the Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the event. Running unofficially and without numbers, the team’s members must begin the race trailing the qualified participants across the start line.
On a day that promised rain but didn’t deliver, the team followed the official route. They planned to finish on Linden Lane, at the crest of Heartbreak Hill—famously the completion of the 21st mile. The temperature was about 48 degrees, with a slight tailwind, perfect for distance running. Trees and bushes were starting to leaf out, and, as Delaveris noticed, a few houses still had Christmas lights up. “I just thought I was going to die after 15 miles,” he said the next day. He kept going, though, because, he said, “the shortest way back was six miles forward.” When Delaveris passed Newton Wellesley Hospital, near the turnoff for Commonwealth Avenue, he felt relief to be running a familiar part of the course. Three water stops along the route, manned by Campus School volunteers, also helped.
On Marathon Monday, Delaveris ran 26.2 miles in a time of four hours and five minutes. The cheers as he passed Boston College were so revitalizing, he said later, that he rebounded a little too much, “making the last five miles harder.” The Campus School team raised approximately $58,000—which is $9,000 more than last year.
Read more by Tim Czerwienski