On Nov. 6, 2011, MIT sophomore Emily L. Dunne ’14 ran in the New York City Marathon. For her, the experience was “even better than I could have imagined.” The ING NYC Marathon is held every year on the first Sunday of November. Runners traverse all five boroughs of New York City throughout the 26.1 mile event, starting on Staten Island and finishing near Central Park. Emily finished the marathon in 3:59:56, making her the ninth fastest female 19 years old or younger. Emily is a Course 2 sophomore who hails from Bermuda. We caught up with her to ask a few questions about her experience.
The Tech: When did you first decide to run a marathon?
Emily Dunne: I’ve wanted to run a marathon since I ran my first half-marathon a couple of years ago and I realized that I really loved long-distance running. There is only one marathon in Bermuda and it’s relatively small, so I decided to wait until college when I could run a big one and have a really amazing experience.
TT: Was it what you expected?
ED: I’d heard a lot of people rave over how great the NY marathon is so I had really high expectations, but it was even better than I could have imagined. It’s hard to put into words, but the energy from the crowds and the emotions of the other runners are overwhelming. You have complete strangers cheering for you along the entire course and there are always so many other runners around you that their momentum kind of keeps you going. I also expected it to be really painful, but I got lucky and didn’t cramp or “hit a wall” at any point, so I was able to have a lot of fun running.
[“Hitting the wall” is the experience that many marathon runners have when their body runs out of glycogen and must burn stored fat for energy. This causes them to experience dramatic fatigue. Some runners have to slow down and walk when this happens, but others collapse.]
TT: Do you think you will run another marathon in the future?
ED: I don’t want to run another marathon while I’m at MIT, but I’d do another one eventually. Training is a huge time commitment and I had to give up a lot of weekends for it, although it was definitely worth it. I think I’ll do another when I start to forget what an amazing experience it is and need to be reminded.
TT: What was the experience like?
ED: Overall, it was a really fun experience. The weather was beautiful and I don’t know New York City, so the route was much more interesting than the bridge loops I had to run while training here. The hardest parts were on the bridges where there aren’t any crowds to cheer you on, and at the very end when I wasn’t sure if I was going to make under four hours.
TT: How long did it take to recover from it afterwards?
ED: Recovering actually wasn’t too bad. I was shuffling around for a couple of days, but a week later I was ready to get back to running again.
TT: Do you have any tips for aspiring marathon runners?
ED: For anyone who wants to run a marathon, I’d say the most important thing is to take care of your body — eat and drink enough before, during, and after running, sleep a decent amount, stretch a lot, etc.