During our Winter Break we had an open call for Boothies to share their best moments at Booth. We kickoff this series by presenting to you a post by Kelly Carlquist who started her MBA with a Marathon finish.
Chicago holds a special place in my heart. I was born and raised in the western suburbs, college educated in its north side and, prior to Booth, a resident of Lincoln Park. And so, opening an email that read “Congratulations, Marathon Entry Approved!” meant I had won the lottery granting me the pinnacle experience combining my two great loves – the City of Chicago and running.
In June 2018, I began my formal marathon training. Short runs during the week were followed by long weekend runs. In eager anticipation of Random Walk and Orientation, I carefully engineered my training schedule such that I would not miss either a mile or any Booth event. Finally, after a summer of anticipation, I arrived at O’Hare airport to greet my future classmates before our flight to New Zealand for Random Walk (but only after an 18-mile run).
Throughout the next week of our Kiwi adventures, we quickly fell into friendship. Failed attempts to silently slip out of hotel rooms at 5am to the treadmill became conversation starters with roommates, who were curious and excited about this undertaking. Upon returning to Chicago, new Boothies from around the world offered me encouragement in my endeavor. This struck me as an overwhelming reminder of the incredible community I had just joined.
Despite the brutal weather forecast for October 7, 2018, race day, I woke up energized for the culmination of months of hard work. Repping a maroon Booth baseball cap, I spent 26 miles soaking in the energy of the crowds filling each Chicago neighborhood.
Although it is impossible to capture fully the day’s emotions in words, gratitude is clearly identifiable. After crossing the finish line, I was greeted outside the iconic Chicago Art Institute by Booth friends who had spent the day traveling around Chicago in torrential rain with homemade signs. Less than two months earlier, they were total strangers. That they and many other Boothies put aside homework and recruiting to watch (and to eat tacos together afterward!) meant the world to me. More than a tagline, Booth’s supportive culture was already being embodied in my classmates’ actions.
Often, running is individualistic: getting out of bed early, pushing pace and enduring depend on self-discipline. However, although marathon training laid the foundation for a strong race, my true fulfillment came from sharing the day with family and friends, old and new. This meaningful Booth moment set the tone for the two years to come, fueling me to continue both investing in myself and selflessly investing, as my friends had in me, in the many other wonderful people at Booth.