The Marathoners


This year two students and a teacher were determined to run the Bank of America Marathon on October 13th, together. Junior Fernando Vega and senior Juan Guerra joined the running club Students Run Chicago that came to Phoenix to recruit students. Ms. Novak, an English teacher, ran it on her own.
“I was so thrilled to run the marathon with two of my students! (And, in spirit with another student who ran the Indianapolis Marathon!) As I trained with my running group this summer, it was fun to keep an eye out for Fernando and Juan along the lakefront path. I felt so inspired by their energy and grit. Training for a marathon is difficult, so it’s more fun to run when you have a strong support system. It was also fun to share running stories with them. When we got back to school Fernando, Raul, Juan and I would share our stories of aches and pains, while keeping each other motivated. Plus, all of my running friends thought it was so cool that I had students who were running a marathon! We all agreed that we never would have run a marathon in high school,” said Ms. Novak.
Although they were all training and running with different running groups, they continued to meet up to talk about their experiences and their issues throughout their training. They kept each other motivated and kept pushing each other so that they didn’t give up.
“During the marathon I was thinking about them and was hoping they were having a good race. During the race, right around mile 14, I saw a group from Students Run CHI and they said, “OH! Fernando and Juan? They’re way far ahead!” That made me happy, and kept me motivated when my right quad started hurting. When Raul ran his marathon a few weeks later, I went for a long run that morning and was sending him happy thoughts to Indianapolis. It’s a good feeling to be able to share this unique experience with my students…we’re alone as we run, but we’re together in our goal for that finish line!” said Ms. Novak.
Ms. Novak kept her students in her heart wishing them the best throughout the marathon. This shows how a sport can bring people together, and can even bring a teacher and her students together because they shared their experiences with each other and learned more about each other throughout their training.
“We trained a mile each Saturday starting from May to October, and then we kept adding miles each Saturday until we reached mile 20 or so. Then, we just kept running the same miles each Saturday and we would just increase our speed so that our legs could get stronger and we could get faster,” said Guerrera.
They all trained hard for six months. Guerrera and Vega ran every Saturday with their running club Students Run Chicago. Ms. Novak did her own training by herself because this is not the first time that she has run a marathon.
“The Chicago 2019 Marathon marked my 10th marathon. I ran in 7 Chicago Marathons and 3 Disney World Marathons. I love running the Chicago Marathon because I know the neighborhoods, and I have friends at different points in the race to give me that high-five or a big cheer to keep me going. There is nothing like running through Chicago’s neighborhoods — every neighborhood is unique and they all know how to support the 40,000 runners to that finish line,” said Ms. Novak.
Ms. Novak really loves and enjoys running marathons. Her Chicago Marathons are different from the Disney Marathons, Ms. Novak has fun at the Disney marathons and she doesn’t try to get her best time because the Disney marathons are more about having fun.
“The Disney Marathons are a different experience. I don’t run Disney to try to get my best time, because along the race course you can take pictures with various Disney characters. Waiting in line for the various pictures could easily add 20 – 30 minutes to your finish time. So, while you never really run a marathon “for fun,” that’s how I have approached the Disney Marathon. I know I won’t have my fastest time, but that’s ok, because I’ll get to see Donald Duck, Mickey, and a host of other Disney favorites along the way. Thank goodness for the Genie from Aladdin at mile 24!,” said Novak.

Overall, the runners created a unique bond over their love of running.