The Boston Marathon and Shin Splints
By: Dr. Peggy Malone
Last week, several of my patients were into my office to get their final pre-race tune up as they packed up and headed down to Boston to prepare for the annual marathon that is happening today.
Today is a day that many marathoners dream about, talk about, prepare years for and aspire to in a way that is unique to the sport of running.
Today is the day that upwards of 25 000 people will be propelling their bodies, one foot in front of the other, for 26 miles 385 yards (42.195km) in what is arguably one of the world’s most prestigious road racing events.
This third Monday in April (Patriot’s Day in the United States) is the day that for the last 115 years has hosted the Boston Marathon. It is the oldest annual marathon in the entire world.
Even as I prepared for my first marathon and experienced my first tentative lessons about what was required in mental and physical stamina to make it to the finish line of this endeavour, I heard whispers about ‘Boston’.
In almost every conversation that I have had about marathon running, The Boston Marathon is mentioned and discussed. It is a race that once qualified for and completed brings prestige and pride to a runner like no other running endeavor.
When other runners see an athlete wearing Boston Marathon Finisher paraphernalia, it becomes whisper and awe worthy.
To hundreds of thousands of recreational runners, qualifying for the Boston Marathon has become the Holy Grail of running.
I want to share the experience of one of my readers who will be running in a charity spot in today’s Boston Marathon who, up until a couple of months ago, was suffering with terrible shin splints.
I shared a few tips for the treatment of shin splints with him back in February when he was part way into his training for the race in Boston today and he recently sent me the following message:
“I want to send you a quick email to Thank You for all your help :)!!! I had sent you an email about 6 to 8 weeks ago in regards to my shin splint issue and you were kind enough to reply and give me some great advice. I took your advice very literally and put a plan together and within about 30 days I became officially shin splint free. I am running the Boston Marathon in 11 days (my 1st marathon) and I can’t tell you what peace of mind I now have knowing the pain I was running through prior will not be apart of that day.”
I also wanted to share a cool bit of history about the Boston Marathon that I recently came across. It really shows how far the sport of running and the Boston Marathon has come.
In 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston marathon. After realizing that a woman was running, race organizer Jock Semple went after Switzer shouting, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers.” However, Switzer’s boyfriend and other male runners provided a protective shield during the entire marathon. The photographs taken of the incident made world headlines, and Kathrine later won the NYC marathon with a time of 3:07:29.
For all you ladies who are heading to the start line today, give a shout out to this courageous woman who helped to pave the way for your Boston experience!
I wish the best of luck to those athletes running the Boston Marathon today, especially those who will head to the start line there for the first time. You are truly taking fabulous running steps into the history books of sport.
Dr. Peggy Malone is a Chiropractor and an Athlete who helps other athletes to overcome injury and get back to their sport. Her weekly Television Series ‘Living Well” inspires people from all walks of life to take control of their health to be as happy and as healthy as they can be.
A former varsity Basketball and Rugby player, she has since entered the world of endurance athletics where she has completed 2 Ironman Triathlons, 3 Marathons, several Half Marathons and many other Triathlons, Road Races and Off-Road Adventure races of varying distances.
Her own athletic endeavors and injuries have given her valuable insight into working with athletes in her practice for both the care of injuries as well as for the improvement of athletic performance.