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Elizabeth Breitmeyer / Gavel Media

Boston Marathon Preview: Insight with Danyon Hobbs

The Boston Marathon is one of the biggest athletic events of the year in Massachusetts. Over 30,000 runners from all over the world take part in this extraordinary event, and tens of thousands more take to the streets of Boston to cheer on these runners. The Boston Marathon has a rich history and meaning for so many people, especially those who run it. 

This year, Boston College junior Danyon Hobbs is participating in his first Boston Marathon. Danyon is a member of the Boston College Club Running team and has run in a handful of marathons over the last year and a half. The marathon comes as a huge opportunity for Danyon, as he has been patiently anticipating the opportunity to participate in this event. In the weeks leading up to the big race, I sat down with Danyon to ask him about the work leading up to the marathon, and his expectations for the big day. 

As we began the interview, I first asked Danyon how he was feeling just two weeks out from the race:

“I’m feeling great. My training has gone really well. It’s nice now that I have the experience, and I know what to expect. In previous years, there was a learning curve, and I barely knew how to train for a marathon when I first started a year and a half ago. Now, I got the basics down, I know what to expect and how my body works. Overall, I know I’ve put in the work and I’m feeling really confident.”

Danyon also expressed his excitement about running the Boston Marathon:

“It’s the Super Bowl of marathons. It’s the biggest amateur marathon in the world. Picturing the start line being surrounded by 30,000 runners, of which the majority of them qualified for the race, is unreal. Being a BC student running not only past campus, but through all of Boston, with so many supporters is going to be unreal, and I cannot wait.”

To qualify for the Boston Marathon, runners must hit a certain qualifying time. Danyon explained that he has actually hit the qualifying time twice in the past year in both the Newport and then Philadelphia Marathons: 

“In Newport, I ran it in two hours and fifty-four minutes, and in Philadelphia, I ran it in two hours, and fifty-one minutes.”

Danyon then described his training plan for the race: 

“It’s been about 15 weeks of training. Marathon training is actually quite simple—it includes a lot of volume and easy running. I increased my mileage by about ten to fifteen percent each week by throwing in gradually increasing tempo runs, easy seven to eight-mile runs, and long runs on the weekend.”

Right before he sat down for the interview, Danyon had actually just completed a 22-mile long run.

If you asked him two years ago, Danyon could never have imagined that he would be a marathon runner. In 2021, he witnessed the Boston Marathon for the first time and realized that one day he wanted to be a runner, instead of a spectator at the event:

“Being in that atmosphere was so inspiring. After that day, I knew I had to run this race and hit the qualifying time.”

Danyon’s first marathon in Philadelphia further increased his desire to one day run the Boston Marathon: 

“That first marathon was the worst pain I had ever felt in my life, but I knew the three-hour mark was right there, so I powered through and finished in two hours and fifty-eight minutes. Crossing that finish line was unreal, probably the best feeling I had ever experienced. After that race, I knew I had to keep doing this.” 

The Boston Marathon course is known for being one of the most difficult marathon courses, including the infamous Heartbreak Hill right before the mile 21 mark. Danyon talked about the difficulty of the Newton Hills, which involves four successive hills through miles 16-20, or as he described, the “moment where you hit the wall.” Despite this challenge, Danyon feels more than prepared to run this part of the course; he has run the Newton hills “too many times to count” during his training as they are right next to BC’s campus, and he knows what to expect during this pivotal part of the race. Danyon believes the hardest part of his race strategy will be to conserve energy on the downhills and not overdo any of the early parts of the race, especially at the start of the race, which is mainly downhill, and then conserve enough energy to stay strong and push through the last few miles of the race after Heartbreak Hill. 

As he looks to the 2023 Boston Marathon, Dayon’s goal is to run the marathon in two hours and forty-five minutes. At the same time, he emphasized that the end time is not the most important aspect of running the Boston Marathon:  

“If I only focus on the time, and don’t take in the experience, then it’s gonna be a wasted opportunity.” 

Thank you to Danyon Hobbs for taking the time to discuss your preparation for the 2023 Boston Marathon. 

Noah Shabahang
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