In any given week, Stephen Alltop must teach music classes, attend meetings and rehearsals, participate in off-campus rehearsals and freelance — in addition to training for the Chicago Marathon. But he wouldn’t give up running.
“It’s funny because even though I have a busy schedule, I don’t think I could manage my schedule if I didn’t take the time to work out and stay energetic,” the Bienen professor said.
Northwestern students are not the only ones running long distances each week in preparation for the Chicago Marathon this Sunday.
“Running an event like that can be a high,” Alltop said. “You’re trying to take on an accomplishment that seems bigger than you are and if you succeed, it’s a good feeling.”
Sunday’s marathon will be Alltop’s seventh. Since his brother got him interested in marathon running in 2007, the professor has run two races every fall.
Jessica Neushwander, a teaching assistant in the French department, will be running in her third marathon come Sunday. Her previous experience includes last year’s Chicago Marathon along with a marathon in Tokyo. This time is special for her, she said, since she will be affiliated with Jack’s Fund, a Chicago area-based charity that raises money for melanoma research.
“I like marathons because I can go as slow as I want, but it’s still good because I finish it,” Neushwander said, adding that her personal record, 4:45, is nothing remarkable.
Like Alltop, she did express difficulty in juggling her teaching responsibilities with her training.
“It’s hard to get up before school and then head in after running,” Neushwander said.
Neushwander added that sometimes she prefers running alone to training with others. No matter if runners like training alone or with friends, the sense of a post-marathon runner’s high among Northwestern runners remains the same.
“Running serves as a metaphor for so many other situations,” Alltop said. “In long distance running, like life, you get to places where it takes sheer will to go on but it’s by using that will, that you get to the finish.”