‘Lived up to the hype’

Fredonia runner competes in Boston Marathon

Submitted photo Jackie Correale is shown with her Boston Marathn medal she eared on Sunday

Fredonia resident Jackie Correale got to achieve an important goal on every marathon runner’s bucket list.

Thanks to her time at the Chicago Marathon a few years ago, Correale was able to participate in this past weekend’s iteration of the Boston Marathon.

While she was supposed to participate back in April when the Boston Marathon is normally held, it was postponed until October due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Correale said that she spent all summer training for her incredible experience.

“It was awesome. I was training all summer and I’ve been a runner my whole life,” Correale said. “It’s such a historic race and so many people want to get into it. It’s hard to qualify for. It’s definitely on any marathoner’s list of something they’d like to try and do. It’s considered the most prestigious because it’s the oldest. “

Correale and her friend Jennifer Donato, another local runner, have been training together for several years now and is a big reason why Correale was able to qualify for Boston to begin with. And training is an important part. Correale said she spent about 16 weeks of the summer training, gradually upping from 25 miles a week to around 70-80 miles.

“It’s nice to have someone to do that with,” Correale said. “It’s important to have a person you’re training with so you know how to navigate it. The more you stick to the program, the better you’ll run.”

Correale added that training with a specific time in mind is the best method for running a marathon, as it provides you a goal to work toward. And as training winds down, it’s important to wind down so your body has time to recover before the big day.

“You pick a time you think you’re able to do and train for that,” Correale said. “The last few weeks, you taper off so your body can recover. The last week is maybe 20 miles, then you put all the eggs in the basket for that day.”

And Correale was able to achieve a couple goals. On top of merely competing, she finished the race in 3:34.41, a strong time considering the grueling nature of the Boston marathon.

“I was happy with the time,” Correale said. “I wasn’t thinking I would do as well because of the brutal hills but I trained hard on hills all summer so I felt like I was ready.

Her strong time also qualifies her to compete in the New York City Marathon. Competing in the New York City Marathon has also always been a goal for Correale.

“I lived in New York City for 20 years,” Correale said. “So, I’ve really been wanting to qualify for that one.”

While the New York City Marathon is held in November, Correale said that she really only has time to participate in one marathon per year. The next one she’s looking at is actually in Berlin, but that remains further down the line.

While Correale has been to Boston before, what she wasn’t exactly ready for was the crowds and atmosphere around the race itself. On top of it being the most prestigious race to begin with, it was also the 125th anniversary of the Boston Marathon, only adding to the sentimentality of the race.

“It’s a beautiful city and they say you’ll never see crowds like this anywhere else,” Correale said. “I don’t think there’s one stretch of road that isn’t a sea of people. You start 26 miles out of Boston and run through small towns and you see all these people in these towns lined up, handing out food, clapping and cheering. In so many places it’s so hard to run and you see all these people cheering for you that don’t even know you. That part of it was really amazing. Them and all the volunteers that help out truly make it a wonderful event.”

While the field was smaller due to COVID-19, down to about 16,000 runners from its normally 35,000, the lower number of competitors only increased the level of competition during the event. All in all, the competition, scenery, and accomplishments she achieved during the race made the weekend a special experience for Correale.

“It was a helluva experience,” Correale said. “It really lived up to the hype. It was absolutely tortuous but pretty awesome too. You end up putting all this work in and you can’t wait to get over the finish line.”


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