Boston Marathon Spotlight Athlete
Lindsay Parks has been running for 10 years. A habit she picked up in 2009 when a friend asked her to join a relay team for the Knoxville Marathon. She completed her first marathon at the Space Coast Marathon in Cocoa Beach, Florida
“I trained on my own for it. I set a goal for 4:30. I ran with a pace group and it was just fabulous. I loved it.”
It wouldn’t be until 2012 that she would join Knoxville Endurance for marathon focused training. In 2016, she would run her first Boston qualifying race at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon where she finished in 3:35, which got her into the 2018 race. She would qualify for Boston again at the 2018 race under what we very well know were challenging conditions.
“It was a crazy day. In the athlete’s village at the start was just insane. From that point, I thought ‘I’m not going to finish this race. How are we even gonna run this race?’ The wind was crazy, it was pouring rain, we’re in mud ankle deep.”
As we know, she finished quite well but getting there was an interesting journey to say the least. Running in shorts, a singlet, and arm sleeves, Lindsay didn’t even get cold. She ran with a few KE athletes for a portion of the race but found herself alone in the latter half which went remarkably well for her.
“It was like I hit a reverse wall at 20, and I just felt ‘good.’”
She felt so good that she didn’t even know she ran heartbreak hill. A serendipitous experience shared by more than one KE athlete that day. She would go on to cross the finish line in 3:33 setting her marathon personal record, and comfortably smashing the qualifying standard for 2019.
Running is a difficult sport, and it takes a lot of effort to get into the Boston Marathon, and Lindsay provides some insight as to the mindset she has that has gotten her there twice in a row, and by no means in any way that was easy.
“For me, I’m not super competitive. That’s not my main goal I guess you’d say. I really just enjoy the training. I’ve met some of my best friends through this program.”
While running might seem like a solitary sport, it’s deceptively not the case. The comradery is something Lindsay can attest to. Having people going through a similar challenge, and supporting each other through that process keeps her coming back.
“Training for Boston last year we had a great group of girls. We all trained together, went and started the race together. It was incredible. And so, that’s what kept me going.”
But more important than qualifying for Boston, Lindsay articulates the significance running has meant for her personally in difficult times.
“The past two years of my life have been rough. I went through a horrible divorce, and it was a really hard time for me. So, definitely running has been my therapy for that. All of my running partners are like my family. I mean it truly has been my therapy.”
It can’t be stressed enough how encouraging it is to hear and see someone overcome the inevitable yet variable challenges that life seems to place in our paths and Lindsay exemplifies the spirit of not giving up when the going gets tough.
“I think the most important thing is patience with your training. You’re going to have the ups and the downs, and you just have to keep with it. Keep trying.”
We will be excited to see her toe the line with Knoxville Endurance once again this April.