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Tufts University: The President's Marathon Challenge

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PMC's own Eric Johnson in the Boston Globe

Marathon Monday was a success for all the President's Marathon Challenge runners! As many recover and relish in their own personal bests, below are two news stories from the Boston Globe featuring Tufts' own Eric Johnson. The Globe followed Eric for the week leading up to the marathon and then featured him in two separate articles. Below are highlights, as well as links to the full articles.

From"Faces in the Crowd," 4/17/09, Boston Globe

When Eric Johnson's son joined the Army three years ago, Johnson decided he needed a distraction to ease his worries.

So Johnson, the executive director of development in Tufts University's fund-raising department, decided to run marathons around the country. It was a fairly easy transition for Johnson, who, in 2003, helped organize the school's Boston Marathon team and has been competing with the Tufts team since.

But when he received word two years ago that his son, Griffin, would be deployed to Iraq, running a few marathons wasn't enough. So he set a new goal: Run all five World Marathon Majors (Boston, New York, London, Berlin, and Chicago) in one year.

Johnson, 49, achieved his goal last year, adding a sixth marathon (Miami) for good measure. He ran Boston only eight days after running London. In the fall, he knocked off the final three majors in a five-week period.

"It was something else to focus on. I was either training or traveling or running throughout the year," said Johnson, who was joined by his wife, Regina, in Miami, Boston, and Chicago. "It gave my wife and I both something positive to focus on instead of thinking about what might be happening to him."

With Griffin, 21, back home safely after more than a year of service in Iraq, Johnson will run Boston with the Tufts team Monday, wearing bib No. 26568.

Johnson, a Methuen resident, said he aims to "finish the marathon before the winners get back to their hometowns." Of all the majors, he said, Boston is special because of the field it draws from around the world.

"It's fun being with all those very talented runners who were able to qualify, who go off at the starting line and you never see them again," he said.

Read the full text of the article.

From "The Best Day in Many Ways," 4/21/09, Boston Globe

Also having a big day was Eric Johnson, Tufts University's executive director of development in the fund-raising department. Last year, Johnson, 49, ran all five world marathon majors, and yesterday he finished his seventh Boston Marathon with the Tufts team in 4:27:16 - his best Boston time by about 15 minutes, he said.

Johnson, who used the marathons as a way to ease his worries about his son's deployment to Iraq, attributed yesterday's strong time to being well rested. Like Ball and Merra, he said one of the best parts was the crowds.

"I was just reminded today about how much fun it is today to run by the two college campuses," he said, referring to Wellesley and BC.

Read the full text of the article.



"As a marathoner you now become a member of a very select group of individuals...The One Percenters! And what is that? Of the entire world's population, less than one percent have ever completed a marathon. This makes each of you a member of a VERY select and special group!"

- Don Megerle, Coach, PMC

Coach's Blog
Catch up with Coach
Don Megerle. Have a
question? Email him at marathonchallenge@tufts.edu

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