DreamFar is a Boston-based organization that helps High School students train for a marathon. WHS has its own DreamFar club, where students can train together. This year, its WHS members ran the half marathon in Newport.
The Amica Newport Marathon is a race that takes place in Newport, Massachusetts. They offer a full-length (26.2 miles) and half-length (13.1 miles) marathon for runners. 2023 is their 14th annual marathon. The Amica organization is partnered with many charities including, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Boys Town New England, The YMCA Newport, Clean Ocean Access, and other local non-profits.
Carolina Passero-Keihl ’23, who ran the Newport half marathon said she was encouraged by her teacher, Ms. Plunkett, to join the group. A couple of other members agreed that she also motivated them to join.
“[I ran the marathon] to test my limits,” said Passero-Keihl.
Most of the runners were not big runners before they joined DreamFar. The training began in October and ended in March with the half marathon.
Others had been running for years, including Vaani Kapoor ’23, who ran 16 out of the 26 miles in the Boston Marathon this year.
“I started [running] in sixth or seventh [grade] to build stamina for swimming…it was very informal,” said Kapoor.
Despite the thought of running 13.1 miles seeming impossible, most of the DreamFar runners said it wasn’t as hard as it seemed.
In fact, the hardest part for the runners seemed to be a mental block. They agreed it was challenging to believe that they would be able to finish a half-marathon. The end goal had seemed too out of reach for them to achieve.
Hannah Cronin of the DreamFar team said that consistency with practices and showing up to run every time was the hardest part of training. During the marathon, DreamFar members said they’d felt pretty confident in their ability to finish — which they attributed to their DreamFar training.
“Once you get past the halfway mark you think ‘I have to finish it now,’” said Hannah Cronin ’23, who ran the Newport half marathon.
Navya Aggarwal ’24, who also ran the half marathon said she had some points where she felt like quitting.
“But I was just thinking if I…could do the 20-mile run [I thought] ‘Yeah, can I finish this,” said Aggarwal.
The DreamFar organization started at the high school in 2019, one year before COVID-19. 2023 was their second year running. The larger organization itself has been around for at least fourteen years in the greater Boston area. A number of schools would run with their students during the week. Then on Saturdays, a couple of chapters in the area meet up at the Brookline Teen Center for a group run.
DreamFar hosts many volunteers to provide water and other necessities for the runners. They also have access to a nutritionist and physical therapist.
All the runners recognize DreamFar as a major contributor to their success with the marathon. They described the program as being extremely supportive during their training and always making them feel like they belong with the organization. “The second you get there, everyone there cares about you,” said Aggarwal.
DreamFar would assign mentors to runners to help them train. The runners agreed that no matter their background in running, DreamFar found someone who would encourage them. The group would practice all together, and talk the entire time they ran to practice pacing and breath control. They recommended running with a group to encourage each other over running alone, which can make the marathon feel isolating and lengthy.“You really learn how to…take care of your body, not just to run a marathon,” said Passero-Keihl.