Students take marathon training one mile at a time

With warmer weather slowly creeping into Minnesota, more and more St. Thomas students are lacing up their tennis shoes and hitting the pavement. But with marathon time also quickly approaching, many Tommies are running for a reason.

An experienced marathoner

Senior Dan Fettig started running to relieve stress when he came to St. Thomas in 2006 and ran his first marathon in July 2009.

“I run every day,” Fettig said. “I take Sundays off, but other than that I just tell myself I’m not going to stop. If you skip a day or something like that you feel bad, and it’s kind of like an obligation almost.”

An “obligation” that has lead Fettig to finish three marathons so far (San Francisco, Sacramento International and Walt Disney World) and sign up for three more in the next year (Big Sur International, Brookings and Chicago), all while keeping his eyes set on Boston in April 2011.

“I really like the challenge of it,” Fettig said. “I figure that if you can overcome kind of putting yourself thorough that, then everything else in life you can already do. It kind of puts things in perspective for me.”

One marathon under her belt

Senior Molly Hanten understands that running marathons can be addictive. She ran the Twin Cities Marathon last October and qualified for the Boston Marathon next month.

Hanten has been balancing the busy schedule that accompanies senior year while training for one of the biggest marathons in the country.

“I kind of actually had to plan my class schedule around it so I’d be able to have time,” Hanten said. “So I ended up switching a few classes around. I’m just learning to get up in the morning and just get it done with. It’s working out a lot better than I was expecting.”

With one marathon under her belt already, Hanten said training for Boston has been a little easier. She finds confidence in the fact that she’s already finished one and knows another finish line is in sight–a mentality Hanten thought she’d never have.

“If someone would have told me five years ago that I’d be running a marathon, I would have said no way, but really, anyone can do it,” Hanten said. “I swear to God, anyone can do it.”

Hanten said she’d try to slow it down after Boston, but “slowing down” is a very relative term.

“Like everyone tells you, it’s kind of addicting once you start,” Hanten said. “But I’m going to try to make myself take some time off and maybe just do [half marathons] or something like that for awhile.”

New runner on the block

Senior Lauren Felmlee is training for the Twin Cities Marathon this October because she has something to prove.

“I did the 10-mile last year, and it was kind of one of those things where they call the 10-mile a shortcut to the finish line, which basically made me want to do the whole thing,” Felmlee said. “I don’t want to just do the shortcut.”

To get that first event done and move on to longer runs, Felmlee didn’t have to look far for inspiration.

“My parents are both marathoners,” she said. “I’ve seen them do five marathons together, and so for me being on the sidelines and finally doing the 10-mile, which was a shortcut, it was definitely time to step up and run my own.”

Even though Felmlee won’t officially start training until June to run the Oct. 3 marathon, her nerves are kicking in.

“With senior year going on right now, I haven’t really been able to think about it, but it’s always in the back of my mind, just knowing that one day if I run 4 miles, in less than a year I have to run 26.2,” Felmlee said. “So if I think about it that way, I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness,’ but I’m kind of nervous.”

Even with two marathoner parents and a background playing high school soccer, Felmlee is slowly coming around to the idea of running a marathon.

“I’m learning to love it,” she said. “I don’t love it, but I love the way I felt coming over the finish line for the 10-mile. I love that feeling with everyone clapping.”

Felmlee said her training method is simply pushing herself to go just a little bit farther than before, just one more mile at a time. But she also said the feeling she gets from crossing the finish line is enough to make her keep running, even after October.

“When I’m coming down those last four miles, there’s no way out,” she said. “I’m here already, and it’s pushing myself further than I ever thought I could.”

Ashley Bolkcom can be reached at