Caitlin Matthews, N17, is only a few days away from the culminating moment in her graduate career: After three years of study in the Friedman School’s Agriculture, Food and Environment Program, and the Urban and Environmental Planning program at Tufts, she will be presenting her thesis on Friday, April 14th. Only three days later, she will be running in the Boston Marathon.
“I started running as a way to balance out all of the challenging intellectual work I do at Tufts,” said Matthews. “I’ve been working on finishing my thesis this year, and I wanted to take on a different kind of challenge.” By any standard, this is an ambitious undertaking—her demanding palette of academic work has been centered on food security and regional self-reliance in La Paz, Bolivia. Between food systems modeling, climate vulnerability modeling, and qualitative interviews, Caitlin has been training three times per week indoors, outdoors, and sometimes on stretches of the actual Marathon route.
Caitlin was chosen by lottery to take part in the Tufts Marathon Team back in December. For the 15th year in a row, Tufts Marathon Team’s participation in the Boston Marathon has been made possible through a partnership with John Hancock. There are a limited number of spots (or bibs) available, and if fundraising efforts prove to be a success, John Hancock will be increasing the number of available bibs for the next three years to fifty.
"....You end up getting to know people from the Tufts community you’ve never met before, and having great conversations. There’s a lot of really determined people involved.”
Comprised of 34 runners, the Tufts Marathon Team is an amalgam of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends of Tufts. Friedman Alumna Claire Whitney, N16, rounds out the roster of Friedman School participants. Students have a fundraising goal of $1,500 each, and all other runners are expected to raise a minimum of $5,000 each.
This year, the new funds raised by the Tufts Marathon Team will go toward supporting student activities and initiatives at the Friedman School.
An active and athletic person her whole life, Matthews says her decision to run the Marathon was influenced by her love of her time studying in Boston and a desire to participate in this iconic Boston event: “Joining the Tufts Marathon Team was my way to honor the time I’ve lived here, and the great experiences I’ve had,” she said. “Training for this has been a really enjoyable, lovely experience—most people don’t think that running these long distances each week would be enjoyable, but you end up getting to know people from the Tufts community you’ve never met before, and having great conversations. There’s a lot of really determined people involved.”
“I want to say just how lucky I’ve been to have the opportunities I’ve had while at Tufts,” said Matthews. “Due to the funds raised by the Tufts Marathon Team in past years, I’ve been able to collaborate and work with many great professors and alumni.”
Gifts to support the Tufts Marathon Team or sponsor a runner can be made online at crowdrise.com/tuftsuniversityboston2017