People, Person, Blonde, Female, Woman

There’s Nothing Like Running in a Deluge

By Kim Parkhill

A running nerd’s recap of the Boston Marathon

On Monday, April 16th, I crossed the finish line at the 122nd Boston Marathon. For those who are not running nerds like myself, the Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest and arguably most prestigious annual marathon. The Boston Marathon takes athletes on a hilly 26.2 mile journey starting in Hopkinton, and finishing in downtown Boston.

Why so prestigious?

Athletes have to qualify to be accepted into the Boston Marathon based on previous marathon times.

In layman’s terms, you have to run a marathon fast in order to run the Boston Marathon. #overachievers

When I interviewed at Appian back in 2015, I had the opportunity to meet with CEO, Matt Calkins, as my final interviewer. Matt’s first question to me was one about my passions; in response, I went on a 10 minute tangent about marathons with the ultimate goal of qualifying for Boston.

A few months after that memorable interview, I finally qualified for Boston for the first time! The Monday after my first qualifier, I remember seeing Matt in the kitchen looking out the windows from our 17th floor office space {BTW our view is changing soon} and I thought:

This is my chance to close the loop from my interview!

With my hands shaking from nerves, I went straight up to Matt and told him that I finally qualified. I was met with a big smile and the most genuine “WOW, congratulations!”.

Did the CEO of a successful pre-IPO {at the time} company just say WOW to me? ME?!

So after 9 years, 9 marathons, and 3 BQs later {acronym for Boston Qualifying Marathons…told you we’re a nerdy bunch} with a personal best of 3 hours and 21 minutes, I finally towed the start line of my first Boston Marathon. My family was there cheering me on in Boston, and my teammates were diligently following my progress on their computer screens ← for real they are amazing {proof below}:

I’m in the purple poncho crossing the finish line on the far right

AND IT WAS MISERABLE !

Bet you weren’t expecting that response after such an inspiring start to this blog post, huh?

With temperatures ranging from 38–40 degrees F, 20 mph headwinds, and pouring rain, Monday, April 16th just so happened to be the coldest Boston Marathon in the event’s history.

Like non-stop-in-your-face rain pellets.

Since the race starts 26.2 miles outside of Boston, runners board school buses to shuttle them to the start line in Hopkinton, which had turned into a giant mud pit from the torrential downpour. With 15 minutes until my wave started, I began to shed the multiple layers I had over my running clothes and shoes {the race is too big to all start at once so you are grouped in waves based on your qualifying time}.

Long johns, 2 pair of sweatpants, 1 long sleeved shirt, 1 jacket, 2 sweatshirts, hand warmers, shoe covers, blanket, towel, and a poncho. Probably missing a few items, but you get the idea.

At the last minute, I decided to keep my purple poncho on which in turn made me look like a drowned purple elf with wings. Think I’m being dramatic? Look at this photo.

FYI that’s the wind giving me wings not my speed.

If I give you my full race report {another running nerd term} then this would be an unbearably long blog post; I’ll only quickly recap my thoughts:

Miles 1–5: Loving the downhill. Don’t understand how the rain is managing to hit me from multiple directions. Why do I run marathons? This is the worst.

Miles 6–7: Do I smell beer and BBQ? I wonder if I can make a quick pit stop at the bar.

Mile 8: This dog.

Credit: Boston Magazine, Rich Powers

Miles 9–15: Flat part of the course. Maybe this isn’t so bad after all! Legs are finally warming up!

Miles 16–21: Newton Hills and Heartbreak Hill ← ain’t got nothin’ on me!

Miles 22–26: Drenched, cold, and sobbing because I see the finish line yet still in my purple poncho.

Mile: 26.2: I am a Boston Marathon Finisher!

Appian teammate, Esther Park, Instagram story

After changing into somewhat dry clothes at a nearby Starbucks {sorry not sorry, I was desperate} and throwing out my beloved purple poncho {RIP} I was happy to put on my #AppianLIFE rain jacket to brace for the 1 mile walk back to my AirBnB. Once settled, warm, and a mimosa in hand, I pulled out my phone to find texts, gifs, missed phone calls, and Instagram stories from my family, friends, and teammates. To accomplish a 9 year long goal is one thing, but to have people from every aspect of your life {including work} celebrate in your success…well, there are no words that can accurately describe that feeling.

So now what?

I’m sure there will be plenty more marathons in my future, as well as the strive for a sub 3:20 time {here we go again with running nerd goals}, but for now I need to find Matt Calkins and tell him my Boston story. ;)


There’s Nothing Like Running in a Deluge was originally published in AppianLIFE on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Published on Apr 20, 2018

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