Brandon Fox was more than halfway done, keeping a modest pace by his standards. He was entering Newton, Mass. on mile 15 of the Boston Marathon when a dull ache began infecting his quadricep muscles. Before he knew it, the quiet intrusion turned to a scorching pain.
“It was the first time I had that much trouble running at a pace that I would’ve been comfortable running in my sleep,” the men’s cross-country captain said of his seven-minute mile pace.
By the time the first semester journalism senior made a left onto Boylston Street for the final spurt, he was overwhelmed with not only pain, but frustration. His legs gave him the last surge of strength they had as he sprinted towards the finish line.
“At that point, just send me home in a body bag,” Fox said. “Just get me home.”
Fox crossed the finish line 20 minutes late of his goal, giving him a time of 3 hours and 20 minutes, averaging roughly 8.4 mph. For many, just finishing the Boston Marathon is a dream come true, but when Fox reached the finish line, a sense of accomplishment was far from his mind.
“I walked off to the side and pretty much said to myself, ‘well that sucked,’” Fox said.
Fox never had trouble with his quadriceps muscles and had, in fact, spent several months fixing a different running injury that became present after winter break. Amanda Nicoles, the head athletic trainer at Emerson, concluded in January that he had iliotibial band tendonitis, which is inflammation of the IT band, a vital tissue for stabilizing the hip and knee during running, according to Nicoles.
Fox had dreamt about the Boston Marathon since he qualified for it in the Philadelphia Marathon in fall 2009 with a time of 3 hours, 39 seconds; the maximum qualifying time for his age group is 3 hours, 10 minutes, according to Fox. After anticipating the grueling 26.2 mile race from Hopkinton to the finish line in Copley Square for more than two years, Fox was not going to let pain get in his way.
“I had worked my ass off for that number,” Fox said. “I was going to run no matter what.”
Nicoles said she immediately made him a stretching program, gave him Advil to stop the swelling, and advised him to slow down his workouts.
“He had been training too much. Running almost two and half to three weeks straight with no resting,” Nicoles said, “You need to have complete days of rest to let your body recover.”
Fox said that after a month, he began feeling better and was able to ease back into a steady running routine.
Fox first began running his freshman year of high school for his cross-country and track teams. He joined the Lions his first year at Emerson and was elected to be captain his sophomore year by head coach John Furey.
Furey said he made Fox the captain of the mens team because he is a good role model and leader.
“He is dedicated and he is motivated,” Furey said. “He puts a lot in himself to have the best season he and the team can have.”
Fox addmitted this motivation can make him very neurotic in his training schedule. Fox said adding a 20-minute delay to his goal time is very discouraging. But after a day to reflect, he said he has already planned his workout regime for the summer.
“I realize that this is who I am,” Fox said. “Running is my passion so I’ll be back at it in a couple of days.”