As the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon played before the nation’s eyes April 15, people from across the nation sought to support those who were affected. University students are continuing that movement by participating in the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday in honor of everyone involved in the tragedy.
Students in the University’s physiology of endurance training class are participating in the Kentucky marathon with Boston as a driving force to commemorate those who lost lives or were in some way affected by the terrorist attack, said kinesiology senior Avery Barrilleaux Beal.
The class will don race-day shirts with the saying “Keep Calm and Marathon On,” and Beal said the motto is fitting not only for the class’s goal to run for Boston but to also prove that the running community is a resilient one.
“This could have happened at any event,” Beal said. “It just so happened that the Boston Marathon of all things was targeted. These people wanted us to be terrorized — if we don’t just keep calm and continue running these races and everything, then they’re going to win.”
Kinesiology senior Jonathan Grace has been running since middle school and will participate in the marathon for those close to him, but for a larger reason as well, he said.
“It’s kind of running in honor of [and] celebrating life and just the ability to go run, to go run a race,” he said. “Although those will be the people that will be on my mind … it’s so much more personal because it was a marathon — we knew people that were there.”
Athletic training junior Brendan Jacob was volunteering for the marathon when the terrorist attacks occurred. Jacob said he isn’t participating in the Kentucky marathon, but he gives his full support to what his classmates are doing.
“It makes me proud to be able to say that I’m involved with this class and involved with this group of people who care so much and who are willing to dedicate their first marathon not to just themselves but to everyone that was affected in Boston,” Jacob said.
Kinesiology senior Mollye Baker echoed her classmate’s sentiment that the terrorists aren’t going to stop her from competing and doing what she enjoys and has trained for.
“All these events have happened, and we could have just said, ‘Oh no, this might happen to our class if we go up there, we might be terrorized,’ so we really took it kind of as pride that we’re are able to go up there and do that and really show them that they can’t affect us,” she said.
The class teaches training techniques for running, physiological adaptations to endurance training and how to progress through a training regimen and is taught by the division of exercise physiology in the Department of Kinesiology by assistant professor Laura Stewart.
“We’ve been training for a marathon for almost 15 weeks now, and, you know, to have something like this happen so close to the time that we’re running a marathon, it just kind of makes you reflect on why you’re doing what you’re doing,” Stewart said. “And when this happened with lives lost and other people from LSU being involved, we thought it would be important just to think about that situation as, you know, you’re running your own marathon.”
Beal said her husband is an Air Force officer and is stationed in Boston, which made for a scary experience the day the attacks occurred. She reiterated that the terrorists won’t deter her from running, and she said running the Boston Marathon is still a goal for her.
“With the Boston Marathon, you have to qualify for that – people work hard,” she said. “And when I found out that my husband was stationed in Boston and that we were going to be living there for, you know, four or five years, the first thing I thought of was, ‘Wow, how cool would it be to qualify for the Boston Marathon while we live there.’”