Running a marathon is a daunting task. 26.2 miles stand between someone and finishing the race — 26.2 miles that can break a person down both physically and mentally. For sophomore Margaret Stahl, this year was the year to take on such a challenge, as she looked to run in the Marine Corps Marathon with her father. Completing such a race requires an immense amount of time spent training, however. How does one find the time in the midst of college? According to Stahl, it was the discipline she learned as a Christendom student-athlete both in and outside the classroom that made it possible.
Stahl is one of three members of her family currently studying at Christendom, following on the heels of her sister, Samantha, who graduated last year. Each year, one of the Stahl siblings has run the Marine Corps Marathon with their father, Joseph. 2022 marked Margaret’s year to finally race with her father — with one snag in the way. Stahl had never raced more than a 5k in the past, a race 23.1 miles less than a marathon.
Training for a marathon takes time— something that can often be in short supply during the college years. For Stahl, however, competing as a student-athlete on the women’s soccer team helped give her the discipline necessary to take on soccer, a full student workload, and training to compete in her first marathon.
“Being a Christendom student-athlete has made me very disciplined with my time,” says Stahl. “With academics being very important to me, maintaining time is important when training for a marathon. There is never enough time to truly train for a marathon but playing on Christendom’s women’s soccer team helped me become more disciplined.”
Stahl trained hard for weeks in advance of the race, before finally arriving in Washington, D.C., to begin the marathon with her father. Inspired by the great stories her siblings came back with after running the race, Stahl eagerly began running. Quickly, she realized why running a marathon can be so transformative, with the mental and physical adversity becoming a challenge she was ready to take on.
The weeks of discipline learned both in and outside the classroom paid off for Stahl as she made her way through neighborhoods, the D.C. monuments, Georgetown, and more, cheered on by countless spectators along the route. The race proved to be a moving one for Stahl as well, as she witnessed the immense sacrifices of countless military veterans along the way.
“The Marine Corps marathon is the seventh largest marathon in the world and the fourth biggest in the United States,” remarked Stahl. “There is a blue mile along the way that has a dedication to all the service members that were killed in action. It’s a very moving mile, and it was so inspiring to see the wounded warriors out there. Sharing this experience with my dad for several hours was a great way to draw closer together as parent and child, by doing something great together.”
26.2 miles — a distance that can make or break a person. Thanks to the discipline Stahl learned as a student-athlete at Christendom, she was able to complete her first ever marathon, growing into a better student and a better athlete in the process. The experience was a truly life-changing one, and she plans to take the lessons learned from it into the rest of her time in college and beyond.