Born to Run: Harvard and the Marathon

Beantown's Best

"It was long and I had fun and I'll never do it again." Harvard junior Adam Button said between breaths, just moments after crossing the finish line of his first Boston Marathon.

Cringing and bending down trying to stir some feelings in his legs, Button added. "Baby, I wasn't born to run"

That might have been the consensus among some 200 Harvard students who braved the rain and the pain to compete in yesterday's Patriots' Day extravaganza, but it certainly wasn't enough to stop most of them.

And if the 26-mile, 385 yd course from Hopkinton to the Pru was a bit too much, some resourceful Harvard students found a way around that, too.

In one of the day's most unusual scenarios, Harvard sophomore Margaret Fernandez crossed the finished line with something approaching a grin Why?

It appears Fernandez surprised even herself by being there, because she hadn't even planned on running.

"I decided to run it about 10 a.m. [two hours before the start]," she said. "And that's after working til 3 a.m. last night."


"I was kind of fed up with the rest of the planet, and so it became a case of 'this is for me'--you know, like the L'Oreal commercial," she explained.

So Fernandez left the Harvard campus by subway, but finding things a bit too congested, hitchiked her way to Natick. "It was as far as I could get," she said. So that's where she started running. And she ran right into a Natick beauty parlor.


"I knew that if I had any problems like a squeaky sneaker or a running nose it would really distract me," she said. "Well, I had wet gloves. So I went into a beauty parlor where a very nice Italian man let me blow dry my gloves and everything was cool."

Fernandez, who plays j.v. lacrosse but has never run more than four miles, polished off her 16-mile jaunt from Natick to the Prudential Center at the wonderfully joyous pace of 12 minutes a mile.

Just don't ask why.