Pat Peters tried to dodge construction materials while on a long run one night. In the dark, he rolled his ankle on a brick, but did not think the injury would last more than a couple days. Now five weeks later, the SESP sophomore’s plans to run well at the Chicago Marathon and qualify for the Boston Marathon are shot.
“It’s insanely frustrating to have put the work in and to have gotten injured by something that was completely preventable,” Peters said. “I’ve been taking painkillers and it’s gotten to the point where I’d just be punching the wall because it wasn’t getting any better.”
Peters, who said he might still recover in time to jog the marathon this year, is not the only Wildcat looking forward to the race. Graduates and undergraduates alike can be seen running along Lake Michigan in the weeks leading up to this Sunday’s big event.
The marathon kicks off at 7:30 a.m. in Grant Park and goes through many different neighborhoods in Chicago, ending on Columbus Drive.
A handful of Triathlon Club members is set to run, including McCormick sophomore Rich Barbera, who said balancing his commitments can be difficult. He typically wakes up around 5 a.m. to go for a run and must be back for 9 a.m. class, he said.
Barbera also makes time for triathlon practice four or five times a week, while still making sure he is in bed by midnight.
“It’s definitely a struggle this year,” he said. “I’ll usually find time to go out with my friends, but it may be limited due to the training schedule.”
Although juggling school and running can be difficult at times, many Northwestern students running said the quarter system gives them an advantage, since school starts so late.
Tony Nalli, a McCormick graduate student, said the timing is great.
“It’s actually kind of lucky,” Nalli said. “It’s not going to be into exam times or too far into the semester where juggling is a huge deal.”
Nalli added that his experience as a varsity member of the University of Michigan’s cross country and track and field teams gave him a lot of experience balancing responsibilities when necessary. In fact, Nalli started training for marathons by following his coach’s workout regimen of running 80 to 90 miles per week, he said.
He will be in the marathon’s Elite Development Corral, meaning he will start at the beginning of the pack with other promising amateur runners.
Peters and Nalli have fellow students to train with through the newly established Northwestern University Track Club on campus.
“I didn’t think I would have that community coming here because I figured there wouldn’t really be anyone like me who was going to go to a school academically as opposed to somewhere with a cross country or track program, which Northwestern didn’t have,” Peters said.
Like Nalli, McCormick sophomore Kate Piscopo does not see the training as much of a problem, since she said she always puts aside time to run or bike. Along with Barbera, she started running triathlons through Northwestern’s club. The two both spoke highly of the running community on campus.
“It’s definitely nice knowing that they’re all going to be down in Chicago for the race,” Barbera said of his teammates who are also racing. “I can connect with them beforehand and after.”