Nancy Fawley, reference librarian for Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, recently returned from Boston, Massachusetts in the United States where she competed in the prestigious Boston Marathon on 19 April. Runners from over 60 countries participated; Ms Fawley was the only person from Qatar.
Nancy Fawley, who only recently started to run marathons, likes the discipline required to run long distances. “I always run in the morning before work and it gives me a chance to sort out my thoughts and prepare for the work day ahead of me,” she said. It is a good way to relieve stress and contributes to a healthy lifestyle, she added.
The Boston Marathon is one of oldest marathons in the world and one of the few where runners must qualify to be able to participate. Qualifying times range from under three hours and 10 minutes for a man of 30 to four hours for a woman over 45. According to Runner’s World magazine, only 10 percent of all marathon runners are able to qualify for the event. For serious athletes, qualifying for and running in the Boston Marathon are a lifetime goal.
This year over 22,629 people completed the 114th Boston Marathon. Fawley finished in 13,271th place with a time of 3:51:20, beating her previous marathon time by over six minutes. In her age group she placed 467th out of 1546 women. “The weather was cool and overcast, perfect for long distance running, and there were crowds cheering for the entire race,” she said. The course, which starts in the town of Hopkinton and ends in Boston, is famous for the four hills that occur late in the race, at kilometer 26. One, the last and longest, is called “Heartbreak Hill,” a reference to the difficulty of the slope. Runners are urged to train for the marathon by running up and down hills, a challenge here in Qatar. Ms Fawley instead trained on an incline on the treadmill.
A marathon refers specifically to a race of 42.195 kilometers. The race was originally conceived for the 1896 Olympics in Greece to commemorate the legendary journey of a Greek soldier who ran from Marathon to Athens to spread the news that the Greeks had defeated the Persians in battle. The legend says that the soldier, Pheidippides, promptly collapsed and died when he reached his destination.
Nancy Fawley after the race.