On Monday morning, the world will turn its eyes to Boston as runners line up to race from Hopkinton to Boston for the first time since the 2013 marathon bombing. There is patriotism, security and pride galore in the city. There is also a high school senior from the Washington, D.C. area.
Meet Emily Cox, Fairfax, Virginia native, W.T. Woodson senior and the youngest female runner in the 2014 Boston Marathon. As detailed in this terrific profile in the Washington Post, Cox qualified for the race after training sessions that included 3:45 wake-up calls for pre-school 10-mile runs.
While marathons are traditionally discouraged for runners younger than 18 years old, Cox is already a seasoned veteran of the 26.2 mile distance. She ran her first marathon in 2011, tackling Washington, D.C.’s Marine Corp Marathon, and qualified for Boston with her 2012 Marine Corp finish time of 3:31.51, the second fastest performance for a woman in her age group. Yet she couldn’t run the 2013 Boston marathon because of her age; unlike some other groups, the Boston Athletic Association prohibits runners younger than 18 from the annual elite race.
For Cox, Monday’s race will be one of reflection, as it will for nearly all the runners. However, unlike those who will be strictly focused on the victims of 2013, Cox will also be thinking about her grandfather, a man who started a long marathoning tradition in her family and accounted for a group that has run a collective 115 Marine Corp Marathons. For her part, Cox is confident that her grandfather would be proud of her participation in the race on Monday.
“He would be really proud and really supportive,” Cox said. “This is totally something he probably would have expected.”