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Bradley Running Club takes on the Illinois Marathon Weekend

The runners who made the trip to Illinois Marathon in Champaign–Urbana had fun. Photo by Josh Schwam

The Bradley Running Club has historically been successful at the Illinois Marathon Relay. For the first time, I was making the trip as a member of the four-time defending champion marathon relay team.

The club sent three marathon relay teams, three marathon runners, one half-marathoner and one 10-kilometer runner.

Each member went through his or her own individual preparation. I was coming off a hard half marathon a month prior and lacked sufficient training. Some relay teams had been training together in order to get the best out of each other for many weeks.

Every runner goes through race preparation differently. I spend most of my time training on the Markin track. I can almost effortlessly get into the “runners high” and before I know it my workout is done. For me, that was the most effective way of preparing for the race.

The Bradley Run Club strives to allow students who do not compete at the college level to continue their running careers past high school. We have all skill levels, ranging from runners like myself who compete and try to place highly in races, as well as recreational runners who want to meet people with similar interests.

One member, freshman Sharbel Khoury said he misses the team experience of high school cross-country.

“Running with a close group of friends and competing as a team is extremely rewarding,” Khoury said. “Having that team feeling again kept me motivate throughout the run and helped me get motivated for next year’s relay.

I was motivated to perform my best for my three relay partners. The Braves’ top relay team, which I was a member of, came in third overall out of 141 relay teams. Our second team was not far behind, finishing in fifth place. The final relay team came in 36th overall.

Sophomores Peter Hansen and Emily Furtek fell just short of their goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon, while freshman Jamie Furtek accomplished her goal of finishing with dignity.

I accomplished my goal of pushing myself to do the best I could. I also nearly achieved getting through 10-kilometers in under 40 minutes. Although the clock read 40:08 when I crossed the 10-kilometer marker I’m happy with my performance.

Everyone had a great time but some were disappointed for not hitting their goals. At first, I was disappointed in not winning the marathon relays. However, Running Club is about more than just winning.

It is about members pushing themselves to get the most out of their athletic abilities, while having a great time doing so. The team mentality is a huge part of the fun. Having a strong team dynamic makes everything we do, win or lose, much more fun.

Incoming club President Emily Furtek discussed how Running Club is more than just winning and losing, and how that adds to its appeal.

“Despite not winning the marathon relays everyone showed up and gave the best of their abilities,” Furtek said. “At the end of the day, everyone had a great time and that’s what really matters.”

I can tell you this for sure: next year, the Running Braves will be back. The biggest challenge of the year will not be placing higher; we will figure that out without much difficultly. The biggest challenge will be figuring out how to have even more fun than we did this year. 

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