Monday, April 20, 2009
Push Rim Wheelchair Start: 9:22 a.m.
Elite Women Start: 9:32 a.m.
Elite Men & Wave 1 Start: 10:00 a.m.
Wave 2 Start: 10:30 a.m.
26 miles, 385 yards
This coming Monday, April 20th – also known as Patriot’s Day – marks the 113th consecutive running of the Boston marathon. From its humble beginnings in April 1897 with a starting field of 15, the Boston Marathon has expanded dramatically in scope and scale, attracting elite and amateur runners from all corners of the globe.
Last year’s victor was Robert K. Cheruiyot of Kenya who crossed the finish line with a time of 2:07:46 – 32 seconds off of the course record he set in 2006. Famous faces in the 2008 field included Lance Armstrong – the seven-time Tour de France champion and cancer survivor – clad in his distinctive yellow jersey. He finished the race in 488th Place with a time of 2:50:58.
This year, over 20,000 runners are expected to cover the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Copely Plaza.
– Kay Fukunaga (NJ)
The Harbus recently caught up with two HBS EC students who are running the race to get their thoughts on marathon motivation, training regimen, and running through the ice, snow, and sleet during the depths of winter in Boston.
HARBUS: Why did you decide to run the Boston marathon?
ALEX HERZLINGER (AH): I saw all of the grandmothers running past me in Kenmore Square last year and asked myself “why can’t I do that?”
ANDREW KLABER (AK): I wanted to run before my HBS and HLS friends graduated; the race was also a special opportunity to raise money in a difficult economic environment for two organizations that are important to me – Orphans Against AIDS (www.orphansagainstaids.org ( and The Esplanade Association (www.esplanadeassociation.org).
HARBUS: What have been the most inspiring and challenging parts of the experience?
AH: Seeing fellow trainees during my regular runs has been very inspiring. Challenging . . . I’ll let you know after the race!
AK: Receiving morale support from family and friends has inspired me throughout the past four months of training, which included runs along the Red Sea and Mediterranean on the Israel IXP, Iceland on a trip with HBS friends, and Chicago (visiting my parents) and New York (visiting my brother). Challenges include balancing the need to push yourself, get faster, and build endurance everyday with the body’s need to recover every once in a while.then there’s also getting out of bed at 5:45AM during the middle of winter so that you can go for an 80-minute run before Tax Law (8:20AM) across the river.
HARBUS: Where/how did you train for the marathon during the harsh Boston winter?
AH: I tried to do my weekly long runs outside. This made for some challenging running in the snow and ice. On a few occasions, I couldn’t quite motivate myself to run outside, so I did my long runs either on the treadmill (the longest I went was 10 miles) or on Shad’s indoor track (I did lots of 5 – 7 milers on the track, the farthest I ran was 90 laps – 10 miles).
AK: Training included many runs along the 17.1-mile Charles River loop (Museum of Science to Watertown), the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, Fresh Pond, and running the hills of Brookline and Newton, which reach their peak at Heartbreak Hill. During the holidays, running along the illuminated Commenwealth Avenue and Boston Common is terrific.
HARBUS: How many miles do you try to run a week?
AH: My goal has been 2 x 4-8 mile runs per week, one day of hill training (stairmaster or stadium) and one long run, which started at 10 and has increased weekly. I’ve mixed in some basketball and 5k races too. That has come to about 20-30 miles per week.
AK: I try to run 4 or 5 times a week, saving my long run (+10-miles) for the weekend. On days when I am not running, I like to do low-impact cardio (e.g., the eliptical) and high-rep, low-weight lifting. When the weather improves, I also enjoy bicycling with Justin Ginsburgh (OB) and Michael Newton (OA) and rowing with Joe Mihalic (OJ) and Benjamin Kramarz (OH).
HARBUS: Anything else that you’d like to share or discuss in the article?
AH: My wife Brenda’s family takes Christmas very seriously. This year I asked for winter running apparel. On December 25, I emerged with 4 pairs of running pants, 2 long-sleeved running shirts, 1 hat, 1 pair of gloves, and, from Brenda, a Garmin GPS training watch. Now I HAD to train for the Marathon.
AK: If the weather is good on race day, come out to the course, take in the spectacle, and cheer us on. There are no HBS classes on April 20 and your support makes everyone run faster.
HARBUS: For more information on the Boston marathon (including the schedule of events, the course map, and history) visit: www.bostonmarathon.org.
ABOUT THE INTERVIEWEES
Alex Herzlinger (OE) served as an officer in the U.S. Army after completing his undergraduate studies in history across the river at Harvard University. He subsequently worked in consulting, and more recently in the marketing division of a medical devices supplier. On campus, he is the Co-President of the Healthcare Club.
Andrew Klaber (OH) is currently pursuing a JD/MBA at Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School. In 2002, he founded the nonprofit Orphans Against AIDS, which annually provides 500 academic scholarships and basic health care to children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS in China, Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Thailand, and Uganda. Andrew also served on the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Orphaned and Vulnerable Children and was selected to speak about Orphans Against AIDS at the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.