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Students train for Chicago Marathon

Emma Russ | Monday, September 26, 2011

Senior Hayley Coffing, who ran both cross country and track in high school, said completing a marathon has always been one of her goals.

Along with a handful of other Notre Dame students, Coffing will participate in this year’s Chicago Marathon, which will take place Oct. 9. She said she has been training since the beginning of summer and is ready for the race.

“Running has been a part of my life for a long time,” she said. “I’m really excited to experience what it’s like to run 26.2 miles with my family, friends and 45,000 other runners.”

Senior Matthew Sushinsky said most marathon training programs involve four or five shorter runs — between four and seven miles each — during the week. On weekends, Sushinsky runs between 15 and 18 miles.

For the average Notre Dame student’s busy schedule, this can be a tough regimen to follow.

“I started training at the beginning of the summer and was doing pretty well. I usually ran about four times a week during the summer,” Sushinsky said. “Now that school has started my training has gone a little downhill, but I still try to get in at least three decent runs per week.”

Coffing agreed that school has become an obstacle, but said she has managed to stick to her schedule.

“It’s definitely hard to balance it all, especially being a senior,” she said. “It’s tempting to skip running and go out with friends, but school, running and staying healthy are my priorities at the moment.”

Junior Marissa Gaskill, who ran the marathon last fall, said the number of competitors was overwhelming.

“There are massive hordes of people,” she said. “You think the crowd will thin out eventually, but it doesn’t … It’s nice in a way because you are exhausted and feel like dying and look around and see about 10 other people that feel the same way too.”

Coffing also said there is a sense of community among runners. She is excited to be a part of the marathon this year instead of watching from the sidelines.

“The level of camaraderie among the runners and spectators is like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” Coffing said. “Chicago is a really special marathon and I’ve been going for years just to watch friends and family. My motivation for running the marathon has been building for years.”

Senior Laura Philipp ran the Indianapolis Marathon last fall but is even more excited for her Oct. 9 race.

“Chicago is a bigger race,” she said. “It’s a fun city and there’s just more overall hype about it.”

Philipp will run as part of the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital fundraising team.

She said being a part of this team has been a major source of motivation throughout her training.

“It was great to get so much support from my friends and family in my effort to raise money,” she said. “I know that while I’m running, I’ll definitely be thinking about all of them and about the cause that I’ve been working for.”