Going the Distance

This is the first in a series of articles following EC Kelly Carson’s quest to run her first marathon through the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge.

Justÿone more mile. OK, maybe just a few blocks more. well, how about to that stop sign? God, I hate running.ÿ

Two years ago, this was the dialogue that ran through my head whenever I tried to run.ÿ Although I was in good shape, I could only run about half a mile before doubling over in pain, and I usually ended up curled on the floor with debilitating cramps when I got home.ÿ I was convinced that running was for masochists, and I laughed at my friends when they tried to convince me to sign up for races with them.ÿ Running is terrible – I would tell them.ÿ Who would ever do a marathon on purpose?

ÿToday, as I train for my first marathon, I couldn’t feel more differently. ÿAs I found out two years ago, I had a medical condition that made distance running next to impossible for me.ÿ A few months later, after a painful surgery and recovery, I decided to give running one more chance.ÿ That day, I jogged three amazing miles through the Colorado foothills and ran up the steps to my house overjoyed, humming the Rocky theme and pumping my hands above my head.ÿ While I wasn’t exactly marathon material, I felt free – and so excited about my newfound ability to run.

ÿWhen I entered HBS, I reluctantly agreed when two wonderful and motivated friends convinced me to train for my first half-marathon.ÿ After that, I was hooked, running two more half-marathons in the next seven months.ÿ For me, running was a release, a privilege, a testament to the power of quality medical care.ÿ Suddenly, I was that crazy runner girl that I used to make fun of – the one who tries to convince people to sign up for races and actually wears one of those nerdy hydration belts in public!

ÿWhen I found out about the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge through a case study in my “Leading and Governing High Performing Nonprofits” class, I was instantly determined to join the team.ÿ After seeing the devastating impact that cancer had on my life and that of my family and friends, I knew it was the perfect way to combine my newfound love of running with a great cause – raising funds for cutting-edge cancer research.

ÿOver the coming months, I invite you to follow me through my ups and downs, my triumphs and my frustrations, as I work to raise $7,000 for the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge – and as I prepare for 26.2 miles of excitement, joy and, well, pain on Marathon Monday.ÿ With your help, we can move closer to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s ultimate finish line: a world without cancer.

Visit to find out more and to donate.

Kelly Carson is a proud member of Old A from Littleton, Colorado. When not running, you can find her singing with the She-E-O’s, walking backwards while leading campus tours for the admissions office, or (most likely!) waiting in the sushi line at Spangler.

February 1, 2010
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