Feature: Brooke Harrison’s Marathon Journey


Hannah Marino '18, Co-Sports Editor

Training for a marathon is hard work. It takes dedication and perseverance. Even making the decision to commit to run a marathon can be a challenge. Yet Montrose’s own Brooke Harrison ‘19 has been training to compete in the 26.2 mile May 1st Providence Marathon in Rhode Island. She’s made this commitment in solidarity with her dad, who is tenaciously battling cancer. She also wants to encourage others at Montrose and beyond to lace on sneakers and make a commitment to running.  Brooke is running with a community of runners through DreamFar, a high school marathon training program based in New England. And Brooke’s also joining fellow Montrose runner and French teacher Madame de Oca, who helps with Dreamfar and has mentored Brooke through her training.

Brooke explained why she started this marathon venture: “In August, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. This changed my perspective on a lot of things, and it inspired me to make the most out of life. In the end, I wanted to do something that would prove to be challenging and motivate others who are trying to overcome obstacles in their lives.” While some run for personal glory, free dri-fit apparel, medals or special charities, Brooke remains focused on her goals to accomplish her (first) marathon.

Brooke is in week 13 of an 18-week training regimen, and she shared her tips.

Make a Plan

Training plans are crucial when training for a long distance race. The plan helps make running a priority while managing time during busy weeks. Also, the plan helps runners increase their distances gradually, which reduces the danger of injuries. There are many training plans available in preparation for pushing your body to the ultimate limits. Brooke said: “My plan has me running three times during the school week, resting twice, cross-training once, and doing my long run on Saturdays.”

Stay Motivated

It is also very hard to stay motivated while running, especially when running 26.2 miles. Many people openly admit that they could never have enough motivation to run that many miles. During a tough week of training, runners can sometimes lose motivation and give up. A mantra is always helpful in these situations. Mantras are sayings that boost self-confidence, such as “I know I can do it” or “One foot in front of the other.” Brooke’s mantra compares her struggles to those of her father’s, such as his rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. While running, Harrison said that she figures: “if he can get zapped by a radiation beam everyday, I can crank out a couple miles!”

Consider Diet

A diet can make or break a runner. Each runner follows a specific, individualized diet that potentially improves running performance. Whether it’s vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, or gluten-free, each runner’s diet is unique to her body’s needs. Brooke said: “I have cut out gluten and processed sugar from my lifestyle, and it has helped immensely! Before I began training, I decided to cut out gluten permanently, and I can definitely see the improvements in my energy and performance levels.”

Run with a Buddy or Group

For those starting to run or considering training for a half or full marathon, Brooke emphasized the importance of others to support the runner. She encourages people to commit to running and to their plan while also finding someone to run with. There is a sense of support and encouragement when running with a buddy. She also added that your training and your races should be fun. She said: “Running is a community sport and has taught me so many lessons that I can apply to other aspects of my life. And, if you’re not having fun, it’s hard to find enjoyment throughout the training process.”

Best of luck to Brooke, Madame de Oca, Dreamfar, and those running with them at the Providence Marathon. And healing wishes for Mr. Harrison!