Despite never competing in a marathon, Emilee Guzman, 22, of Everett, did not hesitate to lace up her running shoes for this year’s 26.2-mile odyssey from Hopkinton to Boston.
Guzman, one of the six Everett runners, raised more than $7,500 to benefit Race for Rehab at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. Because Race for Rehab is an official charity of the Boston Marathon, she was able to bypass the requirements that other runners must fulfill to qualify for the race.
Speaking about the course itself, Guzman said her favorite part was the starting line. “There was this unbelievable surge of energy swirling around all of us; it still fills me with wonder,” she said. “There were live bands, little kids handing out orange peels and waters, old women drinking brews; it was awesome.”
However, it was not long before Guzman encountered the true enormity of the Boston Marathon. “Now I understand why people usually end with Boston or see our marathon as a personal challenge,” she said.
Like other runners, Guzman said the toughest part of the course began with the famed Heartbreak Hill in Newton and continued for the final six miles. “I vividly recall feeling absolutely fatigued and shot,” she said. “My quads, glutes and feet were on fire, I could feel every step shoot up in the back of my legs.”
Guzman said she felt “absolutely euphoric” after crossing the coveted yellow stripe on Boylston Street. “It is the most awesome feeling, and nothing can compare to crossing that finish line,” she said.
However, the real fatigue did not set in until six hours later. “That’s when the post-race adrenaline and the happy chemicals settle and your body begins to feel the toll,” she said.
Guzman said she began training for the marathon in December 2021. “I had zero experience running, let alone running in a marathon; it was all new,” she said. “At first, running was intimidating and I wasn’t confident in my abilities.”
However, it was not long before things began to change. “After week in and week out trying new running techniques, it finally began to stick,” said Guzman. “I enjoyed the progression of it all, the running and the breathing, the confidence I was gaining each week. It was so awesome to be able to run for so long and not want to collapse.”
Looking ahead, Guzman said she plans to continue running and may compete in the Chicago or London Marathons. “Who knows – the world is a large place,” she said.