Taking on the Marathon

By Eden Marcus

Photography by Michaela Johnston

Charlotte Miller, a senior concentrating in Organizational Behavior in the Questrom School of Business, will be running the Boston Marathon this Patriot’s Day.

Not everyone can run in the Boston Marathon. Besides the fact that it is 26.2 miles—a daunting length to most people—there are requirements. One can either qualify with a time of 3 hours and 5 minutes for college-aged men and 3 hours and 35 minutes for college-aged women, or run for a charity. You can also try your odds by entering the random Boston Athletic Association (BAA) lottery to win a spot. Since this is her first marathon, Miller chose to run for a charity.

Miller will be running to benefit the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, an organization close to her heart and the women of her sorority.

Originally from Middlebury, Connecticut, Miller is an involved member of Kappa Delta Sorority and a Dean’s Fellow of Social Impact in Questrom.

“As a child, being a Girl Scout was how I learned leadership skills, gained confidence and made amazing friends. When I joined Kappa Delta at BU I learned that one of our primary philanthropies is the Girl Scouts of the USA,” said Miller (Questrom ’16) . “I have really enjoyed being a mentor to local Girl Scout troops, and sharing our mission to inspire confidence in women and young girls. I am excited to run the marathon during my final year at BU, and am so lucky to have the support of my KD sisters.”

However, her close work and involvement with the Girl Scouts was not the only thing that motivated Miller to run the marathon. During her freshman year at BU, she was on the Boston Marathon course, less than a mile away when the bombs went off.

“In those first days following the Boston bombing, I witnessed the overwhelming courage and unity of the people of Boston. That spirit has been even more present over the past two years, and has inspired me to run this marathon,” Miller said, adding, “I finally made the decision to run this year because I thought there would be no better way to cap off my four years in Boston.”

The money she raises for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts will go toward indoor and outdoor programs that help young girls develop proper nutrition and fitness habits. Funds will also contribute to their day and overnight camp programs in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Health programs like these, offered from kindergarten to 12th grade, are very important to ensure that these young girls grow to be strong and confident women.

“I haven’t always been a runner. I did sports in high school and then only started running in college to figure out my way around Boston,” said Miller.

A day in the life of a college student training to run a marathon is rigorous. There are four days of running (three mid-length runs and one longer run on Saturdays), one day of cross training (yoga or stationary cycling), and two days of rest—on top of all the craziness that is college. According to Miller, as a college student it can be difficult to fit this sort of structure into her days filled with meetings and class work, which are constantly changing and can interfere with training.

“As college students, we just have to get used to long days. Especially at BU there is very little downtime between class, on-campus organizations and schoolwork. Training for the marathon has just been another element added to my day-to-day life that I have grown accustomed to,” Miller explained.

Miller has been quite successful throughout the past fourteen weeks of training, but finds Boston’s climate the most challenging part of it all. “My hardest run I’ve done would be one or two in the snow. I love running by the river, but it’s a full 10 degrees colder there than it is in the city, so in the snow those runs are tough,” Miller said. “But you get used to it and I always kind of feel like I’m in one of those dramatic movie scenes when I am running in bad weather.”

She started her training while abroad in London, where the climate was milder. Despite all the rigors of prepping for a marathon, Miller says that her favorite part of training is her Saturday morning runs.

“Every Saturday and Sunday, the sidewalks are packed with runners. Some are wearing past marathon jackets even. These past few weeks families and businesses have set up water stations outside their houses for anyone running by. The camaraderie and support that you feel just from running with the people that are facing the same challenge as you is incredible. I feel so lucky to be running in a city where there is such a great spirit surrounding the marathon,” Miller said.

Abby Rezendes (SAR ’18), a member of Miller’s Kappa Delta sorority lineage, commends Miller for being a natural athlete. She is so inspired by Miller that she says she too hopes to run the marathon one day.

“I am so proud of Charlotte. I didn’t even know she had decided to run the marathon until she was already committed to running for the Girl Scouts. No matter what amazing thing she’s doing, she never brags. She’s someone everyone should aspire to be like,” Rezendes said.

Miller’s biggest piece of advice for someone who wants to run a marathon is to go for it.

“Sometimes biting off more than you can chew is a good thing. Set your goals high and work your hardest to achieve them,” Miller said.

Consider donating to Charlotte’s cause here.