A soccer player before tearing his ACL, Andrew C. Holmes ’24 turned to running as a reentry point to physical activity.
Next April, he will run 26.2 miles in the 127th Boston Marathon.
“My knee is now reasonably good, but running is the kind of thing you can do with your ACL in terms of getting back to a sport, so I wanted to get back and challenge myself,” Holmes said.
Holmes is one of five undergraduates running in the Boston Marathon through the Harvard College Marathon Challenge to raise money for the Phillips Brooks House Association, a campus public service group.
Runners can participate in the Boston Marathon on behalf of a charity like PBHA or through qualifying based on their time.
Next spring’s installment of the Boston Marathon marks the 10th anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, a domestic terrorist attack that killed three people and injured more than 250 others.
“Before I even knew what a marathon was, I had known the Boston Marathon because it’s the most famous one,” said Jacob R. Jimenez ’24, who will run with HCMC. “A few years back, it became this symbol, not just of excellence and running anymore, but of the strength of the city and of resilience.”
Annie Miall ’23, a first-time marathon runner, is running to represent her lab at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. Miall aims to raise $10,000 through the marathon to support the lab’s research in cornea diseases, a cause she described as “incredibly meaningful.”
Miall said the race carries special significance in part because she is a senior and a Boston local who frequently attended the marathon growing up.
“Running this race is almost symbolic of the past four years of college as well,” she said. “I think running the marathon is a celebration of my time here at Harvard.”
Maia J. Alberts ’23, a first-time runner in the Boston Marathon and a HCMC member, said it is “so powerful” to hear other runners’ motivations for participating.
“It’s such an odd thing for huge masses of people to get together and be like, ‘I’m going to run a weird, arbitrary distance for, at face value, no particular reason at all.’” Alberts said. “ It’s really the people that have empowered me to be in this place.”
Michael D. Wallace ’22-’23, also a first-time HCMC runner, said he looks forward to participating in the marathon because of the “dedication that comes out from the entire Boston community.”
HCMC participant Paz E. Meyers ’25, who previously rowed for the lightweight crew team, said he has enjoyed training alongside other runners.
“For me personally, the team and community environment was a big part of what I enjoyed so much about rowing,” Meyers said. “The fact that I’m now able to find another great community in the running world for support and training is also really awesome.”
For all the marathon’s charity runners, fundraising is another aspect of preparation.
“[HCMC] can keep you on track as far as both your training and your fundraising and also just people to talk to and connect with and do it with, because all these types of things are much more fun when you do them together with other people,” said Meyers, a Crimson news editor.
Alberts said fundraising through marathons can “do so much good” and generate money for “really worthy causes.”
“Being able to run for a cause that I care about, something that directly impacts people in not just the Harvard community but beyond that, in the places I have the privilege of running in — I think that’s incredibly meaningful,” Alberts said.
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