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Monday, August 26, 2019 — Houston, TX 80°

Rice students take on 47th Houston Marathon


McMurtry College senior Ben Rieden (center, yellow shirt) runs down Rice Boulevard during the 2019 Houston Marathon, held on Jan. 20. (Photo by Andrew Grottkau/Thresher)

By Michael Byrnes     1/22/19 10:23pm

For most Rice students, Sunday was a day of rest. With Monday marking the 33rd federal observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, most of the campus was still fast asleep at 6 a.m. when the starter’s gun went off to begin the 47th annual Chevron Houston Marathon. But a few Owls braved the bitter chill and lived to tell the story 26.2 miles later. 

This year’s marathon was a final chance to check off a longtime bucket-list item for some graduating seniors. Duncan College senior Caroline Cobb said that although she ran the half-marathon the past three years, this was her first foray into the full event.

“I have wanted to do the marathon since freshman year, really,” Cobb said. “I just thought it would be a cool way to finish up my time at Rice, running the full marathon right next to campus.”

For others, it was a race against the clock. Baker senior Madison Nasteff was attempting to qualify for the Boston Marathon by finishing in under 3.5 hours. To do so, Nasteff said she and Ian Frankel, a Martel senior, both trained and raced together in order to push each other to new heights. This year’s marathon marked the third consecutive year Nasteff has participated in the event, but Frankel said he was nowhere near marathon shape when he first picked up running just a couple of years ago.

“I tried to run the outer loop sophomore year with my roommate and we made it about two-thirds [of the way] around before we quit,” Frankel said. “During the summer, I was talking with a different friend ... about how awesome it would be to train and do one big race ... simply to prove to ourselves that we could. My friend [bailed] on me, but I followed through and practiced running.”

McMurtry senior Nick Killian and fellow Murt junior Sachi Paul took a different approach to the marathon, using the experience as an opportunity to raise money for a worthy cause. 

“I ran to raise money through donations for [Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy], a charity that benefits boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy,” Killian said. “I ended up raising $2,600 along with my friend Sachi Paul who also ran and raised $1,900 for the same cause. My brother suffers from the disorder and I felt like it was time for [me] to do my part.”

The race, which started in 33-degree weather at the corner of McKinney and Crawford Streets downtown, wound its way through Houston before running along the northwest border of Rice’s campus during mile nine. Paul said that she enjoyed passing by campus in the middle of the race.

“[My] marathon experience was, in retrospect, a lot of fun,” Paul said. “It was cool to see more of Houston than I have ever before, the crowd was amazingly supportive, the weather was beautiful and it was at least a flat course. My favorite part was definitely seeing a huge herd of my friends [and] parents at mile nine and at the finish line with posters and a lot of encouragement.”

In the end, Nasteff and Frankel’s training paid off. They crossed the finish line together, with a gun time of 3:26:56 — beating the women’s Boston Marathon cutoff time by just over three minutes. Nasteff said the experience was unforgettable.

“It feels incredible to have qualified for Boston,” Nasteff said. “While I was confident in my training, I still had doubts about whether or not things would come together for me on race day. In the end, I was able to [set a personal record] by 21 minutes to qualify. I was extremely emotional at the finish, and I truly have Ian to thank for pushing me to run hard in all of our training and on race day. I could not have done it without him and I hope I can make him proud in Boston.”

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