GV students participate in Grand Rapids Marathon

GVL / Rachel Melke
Staci Peterson finishes a marathon with her brother, GVSU senior Matt Peterson (left), and her boyfriend Bryce Bodtke

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GVL / Rachel Melke Staci Peterson finishes a marathon with her brother, GVSU senior Matt Peterson (left), and her boyfriend Bryce Bodtke

Rachel Melke

Staci Peterson hasn’t decided her major, but she has known for a while that she wanted to run a marathon.

“I have always wanted to do a marathon at some point in my life; it wasn’t until the end of my senior year though that I decided I would do one this fall,” said Peterson, a Grand Valley State University freshman. “I was excited to finish, and I hope to do more in the future.”

Through joining a Campus Ministries small group, Peterson met other runners including Natalie Patterson, who also ran Sunday’s Metro Health’s Grand Rapids Marathon.

“I was really excited when I learned that other GV students were running the marathon and also the half marathon,” Peterson said. “It is just a comforting and inspiring thought knowing other people are going through the same nerves, and have taken the time to dedicate themselves to training for such a long time for one race.”

Patterson is a sophomore natural resources management major. This time last year, she could barely run three miles. She began to run with her roommate, GVSU sophomore Maddie Vaughn, to deal with the stresses of being a college freshman. She began realized that by running further, she could beat the hardships she was facing.

In May, Patterson completed her first goal by running the Kalamazoo half marathon. Her goal for Sunday’s marathon was simply to finish, and she not only finished but ran in less than four hours.

Peterson’s history of running gave her inspiration through different means. One of these included her high school cross-country and track coach, Benjamin Mu?±oz.

“I was very happy with her performance during track, so I told her that she should give the marathon a try,” Mu?±oz said. Mu?±oz also ran the Grand Rapids Marathon and said he was very excited to be able to run with Peterson.

Both women participated in rigorous training schedules and lifestyles.

Peterson followed an online intermediate marathon-training schedule that guided her from late June up until shortly before the marathon, where she allowed her body to rest. This schedule included the longest run of the week on Sundays, a 30-60 minute non-running activity Mondays, a low mileage, three-to-five mile run on Tuesdays, a mid mileage, six-to-nine mile run on Wednesdays, a five-to-eight mile run on Thursdays, a rest day on Fridays and a four-to-eight mile run at race pace on Saturdays.

Although both Peterson and Patterson focused their diets around protein, Patterson’s case was different being a vegetarian.

“I get most of my protein from nuts, veggie burgers, Greek yogurt-type of stuff,” Patterson said. “I have to be careful that I get enough since our bodies don’t absorb plant-based proteins as well as meat.”

Peterson was one of the youngest racers that participated in the Grand Rapids Marathon this year, turning 18 only six days before the event. She met her goal of less than four hours, clocking in at three hours and 52 minutes.

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