Stockton senior Chris Shaw ran through harsh wind and rain to place second in the Atlantic City Marathon last Sunday, October 23rd, successfully completing his fourth marathon. Shaw is celebrating this achievement with his eyes on the horizon: he plans to run the Philadelphia Marathon in just one month, and the Boston Marathon in the spring. His advice? “Never be satisfied.”
Shaw has explored his passion for distance running for years, on the cross country and track teams both in high school and at Stockton. After his sophomore year of college, he decided to focus on what he wanted to do most: run marathons. He shifted to training on his own rather than with a team. “It was a really big transition last year, going from short races to doing marathons,” said Shaw.
For a new runner, training for a marathon may require a major lifestyle change. For Shaw, training was familiar, as he used his past running experience in combination with new knowledge gained through his major in Exercise Science. “A lot of the stuff I’ve used in training is stuff I’ve been taught in my classes. It’s also based off of trial and error, and what I know about myself and my body,” he said.
Shaw was prepared to make sacrifices in order to achieve his goals. In addition to going to bed early and forgoing social events, he’d often wake up at 4:30 in the morning to get his run in before working his 9-5 shift. But even with such dedication, Shaw emphasized the importance of rest. “Runners are always taught, just run, run run. This past training period, the most important thing I did was take days off,” he said.
During the race, Shaw said he “really felt great,” despite the unfavorable weather. He finished the marathon in about two hours and 42 minutes. “The main thing I’m telling myself is to be patient, don’t overthink it. I put in all the work to get to this point and now it’s basically just another run,” said Shaw. In training, he often put in long runs up to 22 miles to get used to the distance.
“What got me through the finish line was thinking about all the people that support me, the people who have come to watch me race, the people who are paying attention to what I’m doing,” Shaw reflected.
Shaw attributed his tremendous success in the Atlantic City Marathon to his discipline. “I’m basically my own coach at this point. Every day you’re motivating yourself to just get out there and run. I think just having the belief and confidence in yourself is 80% of the battle,” he said.
In just a few weeks, Shaw will run the Philadelphia Marathon for the second time. After that, he said he plans to take some time off for recovery before he ultimately begins training again for the Boston Marathon in the spring. He even plans to try running an “ultra-marathon” come next summer. But in the midst of his training, Shaw also plans to graduate from Stockton in May 2023 and hopes to attend graduate school for occupational therapy.
“I’m happy I finished second, but I just tell myself to never be satisfied, because there’s always another goal to achieve,” he said.