The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

Sprinting through the semester: A student’s insight on conquering a marathon

Addie-Grace Cook, ’26, trained in Lexington for the New York City Marathon which took place in November
Addie-Grace Cook, ‘26, runs with a smile through the boroughs of New York City in early November, completing a marathon. Photo courtesy of Cook

Whether it’s interning in Washington, D.C. this upcoming spring or running 26.2 miles through all five boroughs of New York, there isn’t much sophomore Addie-Grace Cook can’t do.

In early November, the South Carolina native ran in the 2023 TCS New York City Marathon, beginning on Staten Island and finishing in Central Park.

Runners dash across the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge taking them from Staten Island into Brooklyn then conquering Queens before finally entering the last, and smallest, borough – Manhattan.

Cook described the early morning uber ride to the ferry voyage just to catch a boat ride to the starting line as utterly surreal.

“The spectators were so loud I couldn’t even hear my music,” Cook said. “I felt like the most popular person in the world as complete strangers screamed my name when I passed them.”

She said the first eight miles through Brooklyn were a breeze. Miles 17 through 22 were more of a challenge for Cook when her music stopped working and she realized just how much further she had to go.

“Once I entered Central Park at mile 23,” Cook said, “I realized that I was going to actually do it.”

Crossing the finish line of the largest marathons in the world was a direct result of the hard work Cook put in along the Chessie Trail and Furrs Mill Road in Lexington.

Cook’s typical week of workouts while training for the marathon consisted of one long run, two speed workouts, and two easy runs.

“I ran my long runs, which were usually between 11 and 22 miles, before my class on Tuesdays,” Cook said. “Then I would just shower and go to class.”

She said many times while training on the Chessie, unless occasionally running with friends, she wouldn’t see anyone except a few cows.

Cook found running to be a small piece of both serenity and composure in her busy days.

“At school, my brain goes a million miles a minute– remembering assignments to complete, emails to send, and laundry to do,” Cook said. “Running is the one time that I get to turn that part off. It’s a freeing experience to only think about each step.”

Cook said the biggest thing training for and running marathons has taught her is that absolutely everyone is capable of doing it. She says she ran next to 70-year-old veterans, 36-year-old moms, and other 19-year-old college students in New York.

“After seeing thousands of people come together to run the race, I truly believe anyone could run a marathon.”

Cook isn’t the only college student dedicating the time to trek 26.2 miles.

This past April, three students from Merrimack University up in Massachusetts ran the world’s oldest marathon – the Boston Marathon.

Harvard encourages students to get moving through a club known as the Harvard College Marathon Challenge. The club consists of students, faculty, staff and alumni and it raises money to help the health, education, and welfare of youth and families within the Boston area.

Running serves as an outlet for all people no matter their stage of life. This freeing feeling may appeal extra to college students who face copious loads of work and pressure.

While Cook eventually hopes to cross a marathon finish line at least once in each of the 50 states, she is just running for fun right now.

“Next year, I plan to run every street in Lexington, we’ll see how that goes first!”

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