Running for Hope

5:00am in January is dark and around 17 degrees Fahrenheit here in Boston. While most of us are sleeping in our warm beds, Emily Polonus is getting ready for her morning run. A Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology (MS SLP) graduate student in Bouvé College of Health Science at Northeastern University, Emily is training for the 2020 Chicago Marathon.

Emily running on Commonwealth Avenue below the Boston Strong sign on Bowker Pass.

When asked how she keeps to her training schedule, Emily responded: “I set my alarm, have my clothes ready and tell myself that I am going to run in the morning.” This commitment is impressive for anyone running an average of 12 – 20 miles increased to 50 miles a week pre-marathon, but completing a rigorous graduate program at the same time, is remarkable.

Emily ran in high school as part of her soccer training schedule, but has only run one long distance race, the Seattle Marathon in 2018. Born and raised in Illinois and attending undergrad at Marquette University, cold weather training is not unfamiliar to Emily. Indoor running is an alternative to the outdoors in the winter, however Emily noted that her natural gait is inhibited on the treadmill.

Why train for a marathon during grad school? Emily responded that she enjoys running and it helps her with personal goals as she maintain perspective and focus as she completes the academic and practicum work in the MS SLP program. She enjoys listening to running podcasts during her runs, but also intrigue such as “True Crime”.

Emily worked as a teen camp counselor through the YMCA Summer Program in Illinois and developed insight into the challenges and stresses of teenage life. In light of these experiences, Emily is running to raise funds for Erika’s Lighthouse, a Chicago based support program for teenagers suffering from depression.

Emily running past the iconic Citgo sign in Boston

If Emily makes the qualifying running time of 3 hours and 25 minutes at Chicago, she will enter to hopefully be selected to run the Boston Marathon in 2022. See Emily go!

To learn more about Emily’s running journey and fund raiser, please click here