Graduate student trains for, competes in Boston Marathon

If he had advice to give when it was all over, it would have been that he should have trained more.

But still, the 26-mile trek was a great feat for Aaron Hollis, even if he finished it a bit slower than he wished, clocking in at 3 hours, 34 minutes and 46 seconds.

Because training for the Boston Marathon had to be done during the winter months, run, Hollis, a graduate student in the College of Student Affairs, spent a lot of the training running on the treadmill rather than terrain.

“My first marathon was a fall marathon, so I had a whole summer to basically focus on it,” he said. “With this one being a spring one, obviously you train over the winter. It’s a lot harder to motivate yourself to get outside to run on the ice and snow.”

However, he was able to pull the motivation he needed and trained enough to finish the Boston Marathon Monday.

While the first half of the race gave him no problems, Hollis began struggling during the last half.

“I slowed down a lot,” he said. “And it really hurt.”

But he never worried or feared that he would be unable to finish. Instead, his worries centered on his time being slower than he would have liked.

At mile 17, Hollis encountered Heartbreak Hill, one of the biggest ascents during the marathon. It was there he felt the pain and struggled to get up.

“That hill just took a lot out of me,” he said.

But he persevered and made it to mile 23 – and with three miles left to go, he knew he would make it.

Sore, even days later, Hollis said he still should have trained more.

Hollis said while he was only able to have the longest run during training at 13 miles, it is recommended, when training for the Boston Marathon, to have run 20 miles at least once during the training.

Despite the events that occurred last year during the 2013 Boston Marathon, Hollis was not deterred from entering, but instead inspired.

“With what happened last year, I knew this one would be a really special one,” he said.

And so, unhindered by anything that could stop him, Hollis headed to Boston to compete.

Having only competed in one other full marathon before, the difference was immense for Hollis.

“The marathon I did before had about 5,000 people in it total,” he said. “This one had 36,000, so it was a little different.”

The first part of the course had Hollis running on a lot of downhill slopes. And as he ran, he could see about 4,000 people in front of him, and knew there were more behind him.

In the last marathon, Hollis said he ran by himself mostly.

As he ran, he noticed the fan sections were full of friends, relatives, fans and even whole fraternities and sororities.

“There was hardly any section without somebody there,” he said.

But it wasn’t until miles 21 and 22 that he finally recognized some of the faces: his family, accompanied by a sign that read: “Hollis.”

Pushing on, he would not see his mom, dad, younger sister and best friend, until the end of the race.

But he soon caught up to them, and after being handed his phone, he found out 17 people had texted him to congratulate him.

He had finished.

Now, looking back, Hollis is sure he will attempt another marathon – even if it isn’t for a while.

“I might do one more, I might do a few. I don’t have any planned right now,” he said. “As my old cross country coach would say, they’re addicting.”

Bob Galuski can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]