Wildcat dedicates miles, blogs her way to Boston Marathon

By Melissa Proulx, Staff Writer

If someone had told Theresa Conn that she would be running the 2015 Boston Marathon when she was an undergraduate, she said she probably wouldn’t have believed you.

“Everyone I talk to about this always says, ‘Oh I could never imagine doing this’,” said Conn, now a business administration graduate student at the University of New Hampshire. “I would have said the same thing six months ago.”

But come Patriot’s Day in April, Conn will be one of the 15 total members running on the 2015 Boston Marathon team for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts.

The team is a part of the Boston Athletic Association’s official Boston Marathon Charity Program.

This team is a part of more than a dozen others who participate in the marathon and raise money beforehand.

Members are chosen through an application process and do not have to have the 3 1/2  hour qualifying time needed normally to get a bib.

Instead, the only requirement is that he or she finishes the race within seven hours.

Even then, Conn said that she has been putting in the necessary effort to assure she is ready for the race.

For the last few months, Conn has been running on a weekly training regiment with the charity team, gradually building up her distance and time. Each member is required to run four times a week, with a long run saved for the weekend.

Every Saturday, Conn and the rest of the runners who are a part of the Boston Marathon Charity Program charity organization group meet in Newton to train along the route.

Conn said that with the “winter from hell” creating an added challenge, much of their practice has been centered around the legendary Heartbreak Hill.

The longest run they’ve done thus far is 18 miles.

“When we go over Heartbreak, there’s a second when you can see Boston in the distance and I’m always just like, ‘holy cow,’” Conn said.

Having previously run other road races and a half marathon, running 18 miles in one day is far from the hardest part. Fundraising she said, has been the most stressful aspect of running along with trying to balance it with training, grad school, working and sleeping.

“It’s a tough economy and it’s hard to go up to someone and ask them for money,” she said. “I do feel confident that I’ll be able to reach my goal.”

Though Conn will be just one of the tens of thousands of runners in the marathon, she will not be her only driving force. Each mile of the race, she said, will be dedicated to someone special in her life, a choice that has also worked to help with her fundraising as well.

“It’s actually been really awesome to reconnect with family members and friends and my study abroad groups and all that,” she said. “And just being like, ‘hey, I’m super happy that you’re in my life. I’m dedicating this to you. Can you help me and this awesome organization out’.”

Conn will be dedicating mile 10 to UNH as a thank you for the support she’s received over the years.

She graduated from UNH last year after majoring in environmental conservation and sustainability with a communications and outreach focus.

“I can’t even express how life changing it’s been my past five years up here,” Conn said. “I think the one thing that sticks out about UNH for me is just the level of passion across the board in every aspect of UNH.”

But when it comes to running another marathon in the future, the Boston Marathon or otherwise, Conn is not ready to commit just yet.

“I also said I’d never run a marathon before this, so I don’t know,” Conn said.

Anyone interested in learning more about her training can follow her progress on her blog, theroadtocopley.wordpress.com.