FCLC Student’s First Marathon


Yiana Matthews, a current FCLC Junior, running her last few miles in Central Park. (PHOTO BY HANA KEININGHAM / THE OBSERVER)


One year ago, Yiana Matthews was congratulating marathoners as they ran past the finish line, wishing them a healthy, speedy recovery. Now, she has recovered from running 26.2 miles herself, she proudly sported her medal the day after the 2015 New York City Marathon.

One of last year’s participants with whom Matthews spoke said, “if I can do it, you can do it.” While she laughed it off at the time, she went home and signed up for her first half marathon that evening. “That was the catalyst to a year of races that I’ve been doing in preparation for this one,” she said.

Despite injuries and illness that set her her back during training season, Matthews pushed through and completed the race. She admits that she went into the race under-trained, only having two months of full-time training to prepare. While running in a previous race, she injured her ankle but kept running on it for two months because her tenacity to train clouded her better judgment of getting it checked out by a doctor. Once a doctor finally delivered the bad news that it was actually fractured, Matthews was forced to rest for roughly seven weeks – no running whatsoever.

After the rest period was finally over and she got back to training, Matthews fell down a flight of stairs in a freak accident and mangled her hand warranting 26 stitches. Like Matthews, many athletes suffer their injuries during their training seasons, not while actually competing in their events. While these injuries were frustrating because she was unable to train, she is grateful that she weathered the injury storm before the race rather than during it.

Her training experience wasn’t all bad, though. “She was running through Central Park and tripped on a pothole and took a spill, only to be rushed to by Liam Neeson, of all people…apparently, he really DOES have a very particular set of skills!” recounted Matthews’ mother.

Running the race, however, was spectacular for Matthews. “It’s a really magical experience crossing the Verrazano Bridge with all those people,” she recounted. She breezed through the first half of the marathon because she was used to running 13.1 miles and thinking, “okay you’re done, you can take your game face off, and you can go recover, get your banana.” She laughed explaining that at the end of the race, each runner receives a free T-shirt and free banana. She always looks forward to finishing a race so she can get her potassium packed snack, even though she jokes, “that’s a lot of work for a free banana.”

Free bananas aside, why run if nothing is chasing you? Matthews laughed when I asked this and jokingly answered that she’s running away from her problems. But in all seriousness, she recognizes the various reasons people pick up running and how much those reasons mean to each individual runner. Matthews is resting her legs and won’t start running again until December, but she’s eagerly looking forward to training again. Although her hamstrings and achilles tendons are sore now, Matthews has her eyes set on another marathon in April.