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Tufts University: The President's Marathon Challenge

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PMC 2009: The Best Year Yet

In less than eight months, 194 individuals became a team of marathoners. Prior to September, some had never run more than a few miles. Some were hoping for a third or fourth chance to run a world-class marathon course. Many are students; some employees, friends, or alumni. All were working together as part of the Tufts President’s Marathon Challenge, a group that for seven consecutive years has brought together a total of 1,300 runners from around the country to train for, and then compete in the Boston Marathon. Every step of their journey helped to raise funds that support nutrition, medical, and fitness programs at Tufts University.

Coached by Don Megerle, the event is championed by the entire Tufts community, including President Larry Bacow, an accomplished marathoner who regularly trained with the team.

Through fall, winter and spring, the team tirelessly trained in all sorts of weather. The 10-mile qualifying run was a cold and blustery day in December. The team worked through a series of training sessions, both indoors and outdoors. They focused on strength training as well as preparing their bodies for the 26.2 mile distance on Marathon day.

“Best year yet!” says Megerle with characteristic enthusiasm. “The team was dedicated, loyal, and sincere. More so than any other team they were receptive to the coaching materials and I think that helped them perform exceptionally well.”

Donned in their yellow team singlets emblazoned with “TUFTS MARATHON TEAM,” 194 PMCers began the marathon as they ran from Hopkinton to Boston, on Monday, April 20. Tufts pride could be seen throughout the 26.2 miles as there were hundreds participating as volunteers or part of cheering squads along the course. However, it was in full swarm at Mile Nine, where the many wonderful families and friends gathered to cheer on the team. Coach Megerle, President Bacow and Miriam Nelson waited at the finish line, offering a hug and congratulations to all the runners. In a PMC first, all but one runner finished the entire marathon!

"I ran down Boylston with the final three runners, Katie Dolan, Liley Bogus, and Ivy Vo,” says Megerle.

“For me, it’s not just the training. It’s all that every single individual does to make each PMC year so special,” says Megerle, pride swelling in his voice. “It’s all the personal stories that inspire the runner to make it to Marathon Monday that keep me going and want to do this year-in and year-out.”

This year, the largest known collegiate marathon program in the nation has raised to date more than $428,000. Runners raise money for the Personalized Performance Program and for the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy's efforts to curb adolescent obesity. Staff, faculty, alumni, parents, and friends of Tufts are required to raise $2,500 and students are required to raise $1,000.

But, as Coach said, it’s not just about the fundraising or the training. It’s the entire package. “These inspiring men and women are part of a group of folks I like to call the ‘one percenters,’” boasts Megerle. “Out of the entire world’s population, less than one percent have ever completed a marathon.” Something to be very proud of, indeed.


"I can truthfully say that participating in the marathon was an incomparable life experience...people who have never done this can't imagine what it is like."

- Mark Cronin-Golomb, Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering

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

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