Last year Nick Darsch ran the Boston Marathon on behalf of Boston Financial, in support of United Way. Because of the events that unfolded that day, he was unable to finish the race. This year, Nick has decided to run again to finish the race. Here are his thoughts on running the 2014 Boston Marathon.
Q: We know that last year you came close to finishing the Boston Marathon. What made you decide to finish the race this year?
After the dust settled on all of the events last year, I knew that I had to run the Boston Marathon again in 2014 – there was never a question about whether I would do it or not. I was 0.3 miles away from the finish line when the chaos broke out, and I’ve been chasing that last quarter-plus mile since. When I signed up to run the Boston Marathon in 2013, I made a commitment to United Way, my unbelievably generous friends and family (who supported me through all of the training and fundraising) and most importantly myself. Growing up, I always looked up to my Uncle Michael who ran Boston a number of times, and running Boston became a lifelong goal of mine. Last year that was taken away. This year I’m taking that 0.3 and so much more back – just like everyone else in Boston.
Q: We heard you have a strong association with some of the agencies that United Way supports. Why was it important for you to run for them again this year?
Volunteering has always been a big part of my life, from my time at Boston College High School, to my time at Bentley and now at Boston Financial. When the opportunity to run for United Way came up last year, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. At Bentley, I spent a lot of time working with Habitat for Humanity and the Boys & Girls Clubs. I knew first-hand the impact that United Way has on the community, and was acutely aware that fundraising is key in allowing these programs to thrive. I was thrilled to see the support my friends and family put behind me in their donations to United Way – we raised over $5,500! I continue to work with United Way through their Emerging Leaders program. The UWEL supports key United Way initiatives, including Youth Venture and Community Builders.
You can find more info on the Emerging Leaders program here: http://el.supportunitedway.org/. Also, check out our gala on Friday April 25, at Cyclorama in the South End, a great way to kick off the spring: http://el.supportunitedway.org/ELgala. Sorry for the plugs!!!
Q: For you personally, how is the 2014 marathon different than the 2013 marathon?
Honestly, I hope that much of the experience of the 2014 Boston Marathon is the same as last year. The run was amazing, the people were unbelievable, and the day was perfect… up until the last quarter mile – this year, running that last stretch of the race will be surreal. I think the run, crowd, and day will be even better this year.
Q: Last year you said the thought of running 26 miles in the Boston Marathon was somewhat intimidating. Do you still feel that way?
Even though I was so close to the finish last year, the race is still a bit intimidating. At the end of the day, it’s still the Boston Marathon. I feel confident in my training and ability to finish strong. Based on my experience last year, I changed my training up a bit. Maybe a bit unorthodox but I don’t really follow any formal training schedule, I work more off feel. Generally, I tried to get in one long, one medium and two short runs a week. When I’m training mode, my body is pretty good at telling me “okay you need to go for a run” or “you need to take a day off”, though it always says “you should eat all the cookies, cake and donuts”, so it’s not perfect.
This year there seemed to be a couple more distractions complicating my run schedule, but I feel good that I got in what I needed to. The other cool thing that I’ll have this year is a better sense of where I am in relation to the finish line; I can still see the course in my head.
Q: What will be getting you through this year’s race?
No matter how hard the race gets, I’ll be thinking about that last 0.3, United Way, and seeing my friends and family at the finish line – that’s what will really get me through the day.
I would also be lost without my iPhone during the race. Running for approximately four hours is a long time and my head would be all over the place without distractions. My girlfriend just surprised me with a weekend trip down to Nashville with a bunch of friends two weekends after the race. I put together a Nashville playlist so my mind will for sure be on celebrating the finish with the Tennessee whiskey, music and food along with the NPR/ESPN podcasts I have lined up.
I am so grateful for United Way, Boston Financial and B.A.A. for giving me the opportunity to run the 2014 Boston Marathon and finish what I started last year. April 21 can’t come soon enough!