Boston Marathon Spotlight Athlete
25-year-old Megan Kleeschulte will be making her first appearance at Boston in 2019. Formerly a Division I athlete in the Soccer program at Monmouth University, and now working towards her PhD in Forensic Anthropology at the University of Tennessee, Megan picked up running to fill the space that soccer previously occupied.
“I just needed something to keep me busy, and take my mind off of school, and keep me in a schedule and focus.”
Initially starting with the half marathon distance in several races, Megan tried her hand at the Disney World Marathon in January of 2017, which she completed in 3:45. Seeing her success at this race, she followed it up with a 3:31:34 at the Knoxville Marathon just a couple months later, and topped off the end of the year with a 3:27:52 at the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon in Georgia. Granting her entry in the 2019 Boston Marathon.
These are impressive times, considering she didn’t jump into training with KE until the following April and didn’t do a single speed session.
“I really dislike track workouts. I think after running high school track and feeling like a hamster I think that’s what pulled me towards trail running so much.”
However, knowing the importance of diversified training is what ultimately brought her to work with Knoxville Endurance.
“I’ve really come back to the importance of them, working with Bobby, and understanding their utility.”
Megan intends to PR at Boston, and despite a brief injury over the winter she is on course for a great race. Yet, running—at the end of the day—isn’t just about a PR for her. There is an aspect of the sport that works to smooth the edges of the high-stress nature of her studies and her work. Allowing her to perform at her best.
“From a mental standpoint, it keeps me sane for graduate school. I think sometimes my best papers I’ve written in my head when I’m running. I think I wrote like half my thesis in my head. Working with sometimes pretty emotional stuff with what I do, I think it helps clear my head.”
Being able to detach from work, and to find something to focus her energy on is a key ingredient for Megan. Yet she also finds a community of athletes that compliment her driven attitude to share the journey with.
“It’s almost relieving to know that I have to rely on me and me only. If I can show up that day, and do what I want to do, then I’ll see the results of that. But then I like how at the exact same time it can be very social. You can have people that you rely on, and people that help you get better, and get you through your workouts.”
Megan’s plans for the future include getting faster in the marathon, while still delving further into the trail running world with eyes on 50 and 100-mile races. Not running is just simply not an option, and I think many runners can empathize with her.
“I see myself continuing to run. I think I’ve tried to do the ‘hey I’m not gonna really do anything athletic and just focus on my life’ and that didn’t work at all. I immediately gravitated back towards running.”