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The Return

It takes patience to go through an injury and be on the sidelines while you see everyone else running. It takes courage to tell yourself you’ll get through the injury and that you will come back stronger. Rachel Fox, a Queens Distance member since 2015, is one runner who came back from an injury that set her back months, but is now running and even faster than pre-injury! Read about her tragic accident, her comeback, and her current journey to the TCS NYC Marathon.


It’s the sound that everyone dreads—the sound that makes you cringe.  It’s the sound that when you hear it, you have no idea what you are in for, or if you can ever recover from it.  That “pop”. That sound that you hear when your ankle bones have broken and have become unattached to your leg. That “pop” sound that I heard when I fell on skates in a parking lot and thought, “Oh god!  What have I done? Will I ever run again?”

The thing that you have to understand is that I was on this tremendous adrenaline rush.  I felt invincible after completing the NYC Marathon for the second time, three months prior. One month earlier I had done four races in four days – running a total of 48.6 miles and completed a second marathon within a span of two months. So, naturally I thought now would be a great time to take up roller skating, since I did it as a kid.  Nothing could go wrong, right?

Sitting on the ground in the parking lot, I quickly took off my skates.  As I realize my ankle was broken, the panic started to set in, and then the pain.  I knew this was bad but I didn’t know how bad.

I have a lot to be thankful for, including the overall distance between the accident site, the hospital, and the location of where my brother and sister-in-law reside.

On  February 6th, 2018,  I was quickly taken to the hospital from the accident site. I was too scared to call 911, so a good Samaritan passing by called for me.  I wish I could thank them!

At some point I called my brother and told him I was being taken to the hospital.  I didn’t want to scare him, but I also wanted him to know his big sister seriously injured herself and just needed family around.  I don’t remember if I tried to call my parents or if I didn’t want to scare them either, so I thought I would call my brother first.  The truth is that I that was scared. The only thing I could say out loud to my brother was, “I fell”. I sent my sister-in-law a picture of my ankle.  She told me later on that she knew my ankle was broken when she saw that picture. My brother originally thought I just had a bad sprain. I wish!

I would have my surgery about 8 hours later (on February 7th).  I would return home three days later. The hospital cannot release you unless you have not had a fever for 24 hours.  I don’t remember how I passed the time until I was given the okay to go home. I shared a room with a woman that was hit by a car.  When I was released from the hospital, I knew her stay would be longer than mine. As bad as my situation was, I knew it could always be worse.

We all know that I recovered.  We all know that I made it.  But I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you.  

The first month after surgery was hell.  I was in a lot of pain. The type of surgery I received was ORIF.  This stands for Open Reduction Internal Fixation and it involves the application of implants to guide the healing process of a bone, as well as the open reduction, or setting, of the bone.  I now had to adjust to having metal in my ankle. My poor left ankle, now swollen and had metal in it, looked twice as big as my right ankle! My left ankle was now surrounded by a titanium plate fixed to my bone with seven screws and two splints.   I felt ugly. I felt disabled. I felt defeated. I cried a lot. I used a knee-scooter to get around my apartment (crutches are not a good idea for a klutz, like me). I was, for the most part, independent during my recovery. My family stopped by once a week for a little while to make sure I was okay and help me collect my mail.  My father helped me get to my post-operation appointments.

My days would consist of pain, oxycodone-acetamin (which only seemed to work for 3 out of 24 hours at a time), television, and rest, in what seemed like a never-ending cycle, until sometime in mid-March.  

It was about this time that I now had to practice bending my foot back at a 90 degree angle.  A movement that I never thought twice about, now seemed impossible!

Soon enough, I was approved to put weight on my left foot in CAM boot. CAM, which stands for Controlled Ankle Motion walking boot, is a very clunky boot that is secured with velcro straps and limits motion of your foot, but also allows partial weight bearing.  I was happy to hear I can start walking in a CAM boot, but I was also very nervous. I did not walk or put weight on my left foot for almost a month and a half! The moment that my heel (in a CAM boot) touched the floor, I felt a pins and needles sensation on the bottom of my foot.  The nerves in my foot were waking up. It was exciting but painful.

I know I mention consistently being in pain a lot, but it would subside soon enough.  Unfortunately, pain after surgery is a sign of healing. It is not pleasant, but it is unavoidable.  I just had to be patient.

My recovery started moving forward in April:

  • I would go to physical therapy 3 – 4 times a week.
  • I began indoor cycling again.  
  • By the end of April, I started walking without the boot.

First steps outside without CAM boot, April 22nd.


I started exercising again in June and by July things seemed to be getting back to normal:  

  • My first run post-surgery was about four months after my accident (on June 12th).   I ran for 10 minutes on a treadmill.
  • I started spinning classes on June 16th.
  • My first outdoor run post-surgery was on June 17th – I ran about 2 miles.
  • I started strength training sessions on July 7th.
  • My first race post-surgery was the NYRR (5 mile) Team Championships on July 28th.
  • My first long run post-surgery was on August 19th – I ran 9 miles.

First time being able to balance on the left foot again,  June 3rd.

I left out of the part where I signed up for the NYRR marathon training program on July 23rd.

At the time I registered, it seemed like a crazy idea.  I had no idea if I was going to be able to run the marathon this year.  My original goal was to run a 5 mile race before the end of the year.  As time moved forward, I saw I was able to keep up with the training program.   I knew that I would be able to run the marathon and it was not such a crazy idea after all!

Despite the pain and the struggle I went through to recover, I tried to keep a positive outlook.  Every day I imagined myself running. I kept a schedule of when my post-operation doctor appointments were, and made a note of any milestone changes that would occur – it helped a great deal to look forward to some type of change.

Key moments from November 2017 to October 2018.

In life accidents happen.  It all comes down to how you cope when you are dealt with a bad hand.  You become a stronger person for moving forward in spite of an unfortunate situation.  I wanted to get better, so I fought back.

I want to thank everyone who checked in on me during the time of my recovery, and sent a “congratulations” my way when I started running again.  I’d like to think your full support helped me get back into doing what I love, sooner than I thought. Just in case you don’t know, that would be running!

Rachel L. Fox

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Pablo Gear

Note: Read the Spanish translation below. Lee la traducción al español abajo.


Back in 2016, our team had a casual group run to Little Neck to celebrate Thanksgiving and be grateful for another year that we’ve been together. Leading up to the run, I was talking to future member Pablo Yax who seemed apprehensive of the distance we were running. It turns out that the casual 10 mile run was one of Pablo’s longest, and at the time, hardest run he had done then. Being timid, Pablo was quiet for most of the run and the language barrier made it hard for him to join in some group conversations. But, being Queens Distance and a diverse team in Queens, some of us switched to conversations in Spanish. After warming up to us, we encouraged him to keep coming out and running with us.

As the years go by, we see our team grow in numbers and grow closer together. What you put into the team is what you gain from it and Pablo is no exception to this. The following is an interview I had with Pablo in late September and one that highlights the diversity we have in Queens, what it means to work hard towards a goal, and what developing as a person looks like.

As Pablo and I enjoyed Bareburger in Forest Hills (it was Pablo’s first time there!) he told me of his time back in Sololá, Guatemala. He arrived to NYC about 16 years ago and has enjoyed the New York community since then. Pablo came to the running scene just recently, two years ago, in one of our group runs and has since flourished into a very adept and fast runner—his fastest marathon is 2:51 in the D.C. Marathon earlier this year!

If you’ve seen Pablo race, it’s “con todo”—with everything. He’s one to show grit at the end of a race and go into what many teammates now call “Pablo Gear”—that extra gear found late in a race when the going gets tough. So how did all of this come about? It turns out that Pablo did not play any sports growing up but he and his two brothers did play some soccer. His father and siblings were exceptionally good players but Pablo was not. Fast forward many years and he comes to run with us and then races his first 5K and first race ever at our QDR 5K Championships.

Pablo after the QDR 5K Championships

When I asked him what motivated him to start running and keep on running, he thought long and hard. For many of us, the reasons why we run can be as easy as “I want to beat a certain time”. For some, running is a means to change one’s lifestyle for the better. For Pablo, he use to smoke five years ago, eat unhealthy foods, and sleep very little. Now, through running, he’s motivated by his change in habits for a better lifestyle.

Pablo at the Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Half

Since his first race, he kept training and attempting longer distances. It was at the 2016 Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Half where he realized that he had potential for longer distances. As he recalled, that race he ran without proper running shoes or even a watch and he managed a 1:27 time! He remembers that race very well because after resting for half an hour, he tried to walk home but both his feet cramped up. It was a struggle going home but at the end of the day he enjoyed the experience.

Pablo also enjoys the longer distances because they are not as intense as the 5K and he feels he’s capable of doing well in the long distance that is the marathon. He brought down his time from 3:12 at his first and our very own Queens Marathon in 2017, to 3:00 at the Baltimore Marathon (where he went to with a QDR teammate), to 2:57 at the TCS NYC Marathon, and finally to 2:51 at the Washington, D.C. Marathon.

When Pablo is not training for these races, he’s out working in construction and enjoying concerts. Some of his favorite concerts he’s been to have been at Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Allman Brothers Band, ZZ Top, and Hombres G concerts. In fact, back in June he went to an Hombres G concert and that same night traveled to Boston to race the B.A.A 10K in the morning! As he told me, you have to do what you love even if it means only sleeping a few hours. It’s hard to have those opportunities and we have to make the most out of our time.

Pablo at a Bob Dylan concert

Like most of us who run year round and find injuries inevitable, Pablo battled a knee injury which took him out for about half a year. With cross training and strength workouts, he gained an appreciation for running and being healthy. Now that he’s back on track, Pablo’s next goal is the Philadelphia Marathon in November. It’ll be his second time in Philly as he recently went there with a QDR teammate for the Philadelphia Half where he boasts a time of 1:20!

Being Guatemalan, he’s inspired by Guatemalan racers like William Julajuj who ran a 2:18 in the Rotterdam Marathon. Pablo was a top runner from Guatemala at the 2017 TCS NYC Marathon and we know Pablo will keep pushing and placing high for his home country. One of the few things that reminds him of home is food, and one of his favorite restaurant that most closely resembles food from home is Luna de Xelaju in Jamaica, Queens.

We finished off our burgers by talking about what we were grateful for and what we hoped for the future. We can’t control life’s unexpected situations, but we can control our attitude towards what is given to us. Pablo thanked his athletic lifestyle because it has helped him live a healthy life and it gives him reasons to live, and now he intends to keep running as long as his body allows him to.


QDR wishes Pablo the best of luck for all his future races and goals!

Follow Pablo on Instagram.


En 2016, nuestro equipo tuvo una carrera casual corriendo hacía Little Neck para celebrar el día de acción de gracias y agradecer otro año en que estamos juntos como equipo. Antes de la carrera, estuve hablando con el futuro miembro Pablo Yax, quien estaba nervioso por correr tantas millas. Ahora sabemos que esa carrera de 10 millas fue una de las más largas para Pablo, y en ese tiempo, una de sus más difíciles.  Por su timidez y la barrera del lenguaje, Pablo se quedó callado y no participó mucho en las conversaciones. Pero siendo Queens Distance, un equipo de mucha diversidad en Queens, algunos de nosotros empezamos a conversar en español. De esa manera, Pablo se animó más y lo invitamos a que volviera a correr con nosotros.

Con el pasar de los años, hemos visto a nuestro equipo crecer en números y mantenerse unidos. Lo que uno da al equipo es lo que uno gana y Pablo no es una excepción. Lo siguiente es una entrevista que tuve recientemente con Pablo al fin de septiembre y una que señala la diversidad de Queens, lo que significa trabajar duro por una meta, y el desarrollo como persona.

Mientras Pablo y yo comíamos en Bareburger en Forest Hills (fue su primera vez!) él me platicó de su tiempo en Sololá, Guatemala. El llegó a Nueva York hace 16 años y ha disfrutado de la comunidad desde entonces. Pablo empezó a correr recientemente, hace tres años, en una de nuestras carreras y se ha vuelto en un corredor hábil y rápido. Su mejor maratón es de 2:51 en el maratón de Washington, D.C. este año!

En el maratón de Baltimore

Si has visto a Pablo correr, él corre con todo. El corre con determinación y con algo que sus compañeros han nombrado “Pablo Gear”—su modo de correr al final de una carrera cuando todo se siente difícil. ¿Cómo fue que empezó todo esto? Pablo no participó en prácticas de atletismo cuando era joven, pero él y su hermanos si jugaron un poco de fútbol. El jugaba fútbol pero no era tan bueno como su papá y sus hermanos que eran muy buenos. Después pasaron muchos años y él empezó a correr con Queens Distance, compitiendo en su primer 5K y primera carrera en nuestro QDR 5K Championships.

Cuando le pregunté qué es lo que le motivaba para correr, el lo pensó por mucho tiempo. Para la mayoría de nosotros, las razones por correr pueden ser tan fáciles como “quiero romper un récord”. Para algunos, corriendo es una manera de cambiar nuestras vidas por lo mejor. Para Pablo, el fumaba hace cinco años, comía comida chatarra, y dormía pocas horas. Ahora, él está motivado por sus cambios a una vida más saludable.

Desde su primera carrera, el ha seguido entrenando y corriendo más distancias largas. Fue en el 2016 Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Half donde el se dio cuenta que podía correr distancias largas. Como el me dijo, él no corrió con zapatos adecuados ni mucho menos con un reloj y todavía corrió 1:27! El se acuerda muy bien de esa carrera porque al finalizar la carrera, descansó por media hora y cuando quería ir a su casa, se le entumecieron los pies con calambre. Aunque le costó tanto llegar a casa, fue una experiencia inolvidable.

1 horas y 27 minutos para Pablo en el Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Half

A Pablo también le gusta la distancias largas porque no son tan intensas como el 5K y siente que puede mejorar su tiempo mucho más. Pablo ha demostrado mucha promesa en el maratón, mejorando su tiempo de 3:12 en 2017 en el Queens maratón, a 3 horas en Baltimore (donde fue con un compañero de QDR), a 2:57 en el TCS NYC Marathon, hasta finalmente lograr 2:51 en el maratón en Washington, D.C.

Cuando Pablo no está entrenando para estas carreras, él está trabajando en construcción y disfrutando de conciertos. Uno de sus favoritos conciertos son los de Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Allman Brothers Band, ZZ Top, y Hombres G. En junio, Pablo fue a un concierto de Hombres G y esa misma noche, viajó a Boston, para luego correr el B.A.A. 10K en la mañana! Como el me dijo, aveces tienes que hacer lo que amas aunque pierdas sueño. Es difícil tener esas oportunidades y tenemos que hacer lo más que podamos con nuestro tiempo.

Pablo en un concierto

Así como muchos de nosotros que corremos todo el año y nos lastimamos, Pablo se lesionó la rodilla, lo cual le dejó sin correr por seis meses. Con otros tipos de entrenamiento, él aprendió a valorar corriendo y estar con buena salud. Ahora que está de vuelta, la próxima meta de Pablo es el maratón de Philadelphia. Será su segunda vez en Philly, su primera fue hace poco con una compañera de QDR cuando corrió el medio maratón de Philadelphia en 1:20!

Pablo es guatemalteco y se inspira mucho por otros corredores guatemaltecos como William Julajuj que corrió 2:18 en el maratón de Rotterdam. Pablo fue unos de los mejores corredores guatemaltecos en el 2017 TCS NYC Marathon y nosotros sabemos que seguirá luchando y logrando mejores tiempos por su país y por si mismo. Una de las cosas que lo recuerda de Guatemala es la comida, y uno de sus restaurantes favoritos es Luna de Xelaju en Jamaica, Queens.

Los dos terminamos nuestras hamburguesas hablando de lo que estamos agradecidos y por lo que esperamos para el futuro. No podemos controlar las situaciones inesperadas, pero sí podemos controlar nuestra actitud por lo que se nos da. Pablo le dio gracias al atletismo porque le ha dejado vivir una vida saludable, con ganas de vivir, y él seguirá corriendo hasta que su cuerpo lo permite.


Pablo, Queens Distance te desea todo lo mejor en todas tus próximas metas!

Sigue a Pablo en Instagram.



Special thanks to Jessica Peralta and Guadalupe Cariño for the Spanish translation review and to Jose Donado for the cover image.

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QDR at the BOA Chicago Marathon 2018

What an amazing weekend we just had! From October 5th to the 7th we had Queens Distance members in seven different states running multiple races, from the 5K to the Marathon, all with inspiring stories! We will cover those races later but for now, here is a recap of the 20+ QDR members who ran the 41st edition of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

The Chicago Marathon weekend started on Friday, October 5th, when the expo opened to the public. We had teammates arrive early on and pick up their bib, run, and then immediately fly back. Regardless of how much time we individually spent in Chicago, the team shone bright with smiles as we welcomed each other to Chicago and later when we said our goodbyes after the marathon.

Since Saturday was the day of the International Chicago 5K race, many of our members arrived to Chicago on Friday to pick up their 5K bibs (if they weren’t mailed to their homes) and get ready for their race. That day, many of us also collectively went to the expo to pick up the marathon bib.

Group pictures at the Chicago Marathon Expo

We made the most of that day from around noon to 3pm as we came and went and managed to find each other in the expo. After exploring the expo, collecting snacks, attempting to run Eliud Kipchoge’s pace for 200m, collecting freebies, and taking pictures, we left to get ready for the next long day. Those who couldn’t make it on Friday went on Saturday right after they arrived to the windy city of Chicago.

Chicago 5k – October 6th

As the name implies, the International Chicago 5K race highlights all the different countries that come to Chicago for the weekend. It’s an amazing idea and one that is further emphasized by the participant’s home country flag on the 5K bib, if they chose to have one. The diversity in the group was shown by American, Albanian, and Mexican flags. A big congratulations to our runners who represented their country and our club: Jessica Peralta, Nicholas Rachowicz (one of our members from St. Louis!), Ivelisse Ureña, Michael Tan, Elsie Alonso, Carolina Fuentes, Jonela Molla, and Isabelle Malave!

A few of a the participants of the International Chicago 5K race

It was a hectic morning as heavy rain and thunder made commuting to the start line tough. We received notifications that the Event Alert System (EAS) color was red, signifying potentially dangerous conditions. So, we waited out the rain under shelter and about 20 minutes past the original start time, the 5K race went off. This year, the race was held exclusively on the streets in the Loop of Chicago, as opposed to the last two years when the course went into Millennium Park.

The plan for the morning was to cheer the runners at mile 1 and mile 3, the latter location looped so we managed to see them twice at the same spot. We lost our voices, especially Dyrlee, as we cheered loudly not just for our teammates but for everyone. When we saw someone ready to walk, we pushed them to keep going just for a little bit more until the finish line. From babies to the elderly, it was inspiring to see everyone in the morning finish the 5K.

We got plenty of smiles and high fives from everyone and thanks from the last runner of the race. We witnessed PRs being made, a lovely moment between Jose and Isabelle, teammates being surprised by how well they did, and we even made friends with many runners who stopped by to take pictures with us!

QDR group picture after the International Chicago 5K



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Peak happiness 💕 • 📸: @dyrlita • • • • • • #chicago5k #chicago #runners #bae #loverslovin #roadrace

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Marathon – October 7th

Morning of the race! Group meet-up between Gate 4 and 5!

Feeding off the excitement from the previous day, we met up at the entrance to Millennium Park early morning for a quick team picture before we went to our corrals to get ready to race. Even though Millennium Park is big, it was easy to get around from the entrance to the gear check area to the corrals. At 7:30AM the gun went off, the nerves went away, and the race began.

Early on during the Chicago Marathon. Photos courtesy of Li.

As previously mentioned, we had over 20 QDR members running the race! That’s the biggest number of members we’ve had at a World Marathon Major race that isn’t the TCS NYC Marathon, where we have over 100 members running! It was truly a spectacle to witness the race unfold for all our teammates. It’s a marathon and as we all know, anything can happen in a marathon. We can feel really great that day and run better than we expected, or we can have a crummy day and fade out. Regardless, every runner who expected to finish, finished, and each has a story to tell. But, if you ask any of them, and we encourage you to ask, it was a race they won’t forget.

Close to the finish line of the Chicago Marathon. Photos courtesy of Li.

The QDR Athletes

Queens Distance had runners of all paces and all with different goals. Whether it was to qualify for Boston, get a sub-3, sub-4, to pace, or just to finish after recently being injured, we’re very proud of every one.

A small selection of finisher photos

There are more photos on our Facebook and Instagram accounts so make sure to check them out, as well as individual runner’s accounts.

Congrats to all our runners for the Chicago Marathon: the twins Lorenzo de la Cruz and Nicolas de la Cruz, Dyrlee Sanmiguel, Rosie Rosario, Victor Fajardo, Shahidah Hamlett, Julie Tran, Martha Panora, Dignangely Jimenez, Tony Wang, Michael Tan, Evelyn Wong, Albert Tan, Jose Donado, and Rene Cuahuizo. We had friends of QDR join us like James Liu and Sean Forrestel. We’d also like to congratulate Bevin Bullock and Harry Cheung who both ran their sub-4 hour goal, Nick Deuz who PR-ed by over an hour and 15 minutes, Frank Poline who ran a Boston Marathon qualifying time and a PR by 33 minutes, and Eric Morris and Daniel Rivera who both ran under 3 hours. Daniel was also the fastest of the day coming in at 2:49:11! Big thanks to Peter Ciaccia and Michael Capiraso who recognized the gold singlets at the finish line and greeted us.


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Meet Danny Rivera @danny.ocean. Yesterday, at 7:30AM, Danny went out for a 🏃🏻through the City of Chicago that came to it’s conclusion at 10:19AM. (2:49:11) 🏅 Danny, a Native of Jackson Heights, Queens, works as a Nurse and had to fit 80+ Mile Weeks into his schedule. On his own time, Danny would venture out to Team Practices in support of teammates. If you check our “Race Recaps and Stories”, you’ll usually spot Danny close to the edge of the course, raising his voice for teammates and the Running Community. 🦄 At 9PM, it was another Day at the Office as Danny clocked in for his shift with the run of his life under his belt. A Blue Collar, hard working and fully spirited Queens Distance Runner if we have ever had one! #queensdistance #hischicagomarathon #bostonqualifier #sub3hourmarathon #runners #itsinqueens #chicago #madeinqueens #humansofny #training #marathoner

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Maria Wong, Edwin Guzman, and Kevin Montalvo, the three co-founders, worked together for the majority of the marathon until Kevin felt pain in his foot and dropped out. Not to worry! Kevin was otherwise feeling well throughout the race and expected that to happen at some point. Even though Maria’s goal wasn’t met, as she pointed out, “I just wanted to thank everyone who tracked, cheered, or reached out to me. I got so many messages in the days leading up to today. A special shoutout to my husband Kevin and my brother from another mother Edwin; they both selflessly led me, partially and fully, to my first Chicago Marathon finish. I did have some tummy troubles and had to grit through to the end. I am not disappointed or sad. I actually am at peace with it because I had all of your wonderful thoughts and words with me. Thanks again.”

The three QDR Co-founders

QDR Scream Station

The two Scream Station leaders for the morning!

The morning of the Chicago Marathon was a special one, but one that would not have been what it was without the QDR Scream Station. The day before we organized where and when our teammates would meet up so that they could have good spectating sights, but also cheer for us. This year, we had three QDR scream stations led by Jess and Jona. The first two were early on in the Marathon at miles 3 and 12 and the third scream station was at mile 25, right before the end. With the cheer squad at those locations, our runners got the most out of the cheers, and the cheer squad was also able to easily maneuver between them in the city. Even though we had those sites in mind, some members decided to go to their spectating location of choice, which worked out so well as we were able to hear cheers all throughout the race!

Separate Scream Station locations but familiar faces

Many of them went with us early morning to drop us off, some carried our bags, and best of all, they all brought a great attitude. We truly and deeply appreciate all the time they used to be out there for us. A big thank you to Jona, Jess, Li (Harry’s girlfriend who will soon be part of our team), Nicholas, David Dominguez (who unfortunately had to defer this year’s Chicago Marathon), Ivelisse, Isabelle, Elsie, Rachel Morris (Eric’s wife), and Martha’s cousin Johnny and niece Diana, all of whom helped us cross the finish line.

Next Year

Martha being helped by her niece at mile 25

You can bet we will be out here next year after weeks of training to show our best on the streets of Chicago. For now, we will take this incredible momentum we have into our very own TCS NYC Marathon and into other fall marathons. See you out on the road and remember to always spread the love when running.


Queens Distance

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The Marathon Taper

Queens Distance been asked multiple questions about running over the years; how to train, what training plans to follow, how to cross training, what nutrition to take, and how to taper. In order to help train for races, we host multiple Destination Long Runs and track sessions at Astoria, Forest Park, and Bayside. To get the most out of those runs before the big race day, it’s also important to understand the taper.

It’s been weeks of training. Going to sleep early and getting up early to run has become the norm. We’ve been practicing our marathon pace, our nutrition, and our mindset. Then, two to three weeks before race day is the time to taper.

What is tapering? We’ve asked three of our members to write down their own thoughts and approaches when it comes to tapering.

Elizabeth Corkum

Upcoming Marathon: St. George Marathon, October 6th.

Elizabeth at the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon 2017.

 The taper is perhaps the most important mesocycle for a marathoner. After months of hard work, the final preparation for the marathon occurs. The taper is usually the final 2-3 weeks before the goal marathon. During that time, mileage is cut down systematically – 20-30% each week. Low mileage marathoners reduce less than high mileage marathoners. It’s recommended that cross training (XT) discontinues two weeks out (just get extra rest on a previous XT day), and strength training (or any additional activities) pause a week out from race day.

It’s important to continue running through the taper (don’t just rest for 2-3 weeks!) and to stay sharp. Therefore, some speed workouts and marathon goal pace runs should continue. In fact, some studies suggest that an athlete can experience a 3% boost in performance on race day if the taper includes some speed work but reduction in mileage. The hardest part is respecting the taper. Many of us want to squeeze out any additional training possible. Once you are three weeks out, the hay is in the barn and there’s not much an athlete can do to make up for missed workouts 12 weeks before. Trust in the work you HAVE put in, do the runs on your calendar, and get extra sleep and rest, hydrate, and stick to nutritionally dense foods. Spend your time and energy towards studying your race course, race weekend plans, and relaxing.


Marie-Ange Brumelot

Upcoming Marathon: pacing the TCS NYC Marathon, November 4th.

Marie at the NYRR 18 Mile Tune-up 2017. Photo courtesy of Sam LaFata.

The process of reducing overall training volume for a peak performance at a goal race.

To get your legs back from heavy training and be fresh for your race.

Some races can be used as training runs towards a further particular goal. Taper in preparation for your specific goal race only.

Athletes whose training regiment requires deloading in order to perform at their best.
Let us explain further.
-One can train to peak, then tapers and races. Usually these athletes have a high training volume, thanks to which many gains are obtained, but require rest before peak performance can be achieved.

-One can train all the way to the race, gains fitness all throughout his or her training cycle which culminates with a race. No tapering is required.

Is there a better option? YES! The one that works for you!

We are all different and ultimately need distinct approaches.
-TIMING: Tapering is about recovering before a race, so your own personal ability to recover will directly affect the length of your tapering period. A general approach is to deload over the course of 2 weeks.
-AMOUNT: The higher the training volume, more fatigued you are, the more you should taper. The general rule is to reduce training volume by 40% over the course of those 2 weeks.

COACH’S TIP: While tapering, focus on recovery, look back at what you have achieved in your training cycle, visualize your race regularly, and get mentally ready to lay out your best effort on race day.

As Marie puts it, tapering is a good time to sit back and relax.


Christine Nasol

Upcoming Marathon: TCS NYC Marathon, November 4th.

Christine at a recent NYRR live discussion for TCS NYC Marathoners. Check out the video on Facebook.

With 6 weeks of training left until the NYC Marathon, I cannot stress the importance of incorporating tapering into your training routine, and I remember how important it was in my training. During training, tapering is important to allow your body to rest and giving your legs a fresh start so that come marathon day, you’re able to run to the best of your ability.

Even if you haven’t had a perfect training cycle, trusting in your training process and that you’ve done the work is key. It’s easy to fall into the trap of getting in one more hard run, and feeling like you need to push yourself up until the day of the big race. I definitely remember my own fear of feeling like I was going to lose all my hard work and fitness if I tapered! But it takes just a few miles of overtraining to cause injury, or not feeling like you have a full tank of energy for your big race.

Everyone’s tapering schedule is different, depending on their ability level and personal goals, but my own tapering schedule for my long runs from last year after my last long run of 18-20 miles was as follows: 3 weeks left until the marathon: Ideally your last long run (18-20 miles) 2 weeks left until the marathon: Shorter mileage run of 12-14 miles 1 week left until the marathon: A run under 10 miles (7-8 miles worked for me!) And then of course, MARATHON WEEK!

Incorporating proper recovery techniques (foam rolling, stretching, yoga), proper nutrition, sleep, and some good shake out miles during the week of the marathon will set you up to run your big race with the proper energy and fresh legs that you need to feel your best on race day!


Trust your training and trust the taper! If you have any questions or suggestions for another blog post, email us at Good luck to all the marathoners this fall season!

We’ll see you out there.

Queens Distance