Marina (left) greeted her running friends at the finish line with coffee and donuts.

Six weeks ago, my roommate Elena and my friend Claire decided to train for a half-marathon that happened on Halloween. Claire ran cross-country in high school and Elena enjoys long-distance running, so they decided to train together to motivate each other. We all followed their progress closely, I gave them advice about where to run on campus and helped pick them up when they completed their long runs. They trained without a coach or even a program; they just figured out when and where to run, and asked Claire’s sister—a marathoner herself—about the specific distances.

Prior to the race, they were preparing to run and I asked when and where the half-marathon was; it was at Hammonasset State Park, about 30 minutes from Conn, and it started at 7:30 a.m. Aside from both of their boyfriends who were driving them there, they told no one else to come because of the inconvenience. However, my other roommate Natalie and I secretly planned to go and surprise them at the finish line.

And it worked! Through my covertly asked questions and communicating with the boyfriends, Natalie and I made it to the finish line, with hot chocolate, coffee and donuts for the runners and spectators.

Both Claire and Elena were surprised and so happy we had come. It made my weekend to be able to support two of my friends and their athletic endeavor. As an athlete, I know how much it means to me when my friends come to my track meets, so I wanted to return that to my friends.