CONTRIBUTED BY KATE STAFF
Athletes endure nine hard months of training with one goal in mind: running a marathon. Students at the high school train tirelessly in order to build up the strength and stamina needed to run 26.2 miles. This may sound like a ridiculous challenge, but to these student athletes, it is not a joke.
The DreamFar club trains students over the course of the school year to run a full marathon. They prepare with three shorter runs during the school week and one longer run on Saturdays. They run up to five miles on the shorter runs and up to seven miles on the weekend runs. The DreamFar club not only helps student athletes reach their mileage goals, but it builds a welcoming community of runners.
Assistant coach Robin Toback currently manages the club while the head coach is out on maternity leave. She thinks DreamFar creates a space for people to try something completely out of their comfort zone.
“DreamFar is really a great way for students to come together and do an activity that some of them might not do otherwise. It is a really nice team bonding activity, and it is a way for them to learn how to accomplish challenging goals,” Toback said.
However, Toback said heavy e training is needed to reach this goal.
“On Saturdays, the students run with other kids from other schools around Massachusetts,” Toback said. “The shorter runs happen during the week, and depending on where you are in the training cycle, it could be anywhere between two and four miles or three and five miles.”
According to Toback, many students use the club as a way to stay in shape during the off-season but there are also students who do not typically run on the cross country or track team. The skill level is very diverse but that is part of the experience.
Junior Eden Smith joined DreamFar last year. She feels motivated because everyone around her is working towards the same goal.
“It is a really good community of runners who all want to reach the same goal,” Smith said. “We have a very diverse group of skill levels, which is really nice. It is great to just have a group of people that you can run with and you don’t have to worry that you’re going too fast or too slow.”
Students do not have to run a full marathon if they are not ready and have the option to choose a half marathon if they’re more comfortable with that distance.
Toback said that everyone is encouraged to join the club, no matter the skill level or prior experience that they have.
However, the practices are far from easy. Junior Kate Staff, who is in her third year of doing DreamFar, stressed the intensity of the practices and the dedication required.
“You slowly build up mileage, and on the weekends, you will start doing long runs,” Staff said. “We meet Saturday mornings at the Brookline Teen Center, along with all the other clubs in the Boston area, and we do longer runs that build milage every weekend. We will start with four miles and then it keeps building greater and greater.”
Staff has been training hard to meet her weekly mileage goal. She said that she is on mile 17 right now, and she is getting closer to reach her goal of a marathon in May.
“Coming into the program freshman year, I never thought I would be able to run a marathon, which is something that sounds so crazy,” Staff said. “Through dedication and persistence with this club, I have been able to achieve something I never thought I would have been able to do.”