Ritual, Community and Shared Experience: Running the Boston Marathon

Running a marathon requires immense determination and dedication to an intense training plan that can last for months. For the majority of runners — the non-professionals — this requires balancing the demands of personal and professional lives with countless hours of training runs and fundraising efforts. 

Meet six members of the Holy Cross community who will be among the thousands to run the storied 26.2 miles of the 2024 Boston Marathon from Hopkinton center to Copley Square on April 15. 




A woman runner leaps in the air and smiles on a wooded trail

Yuki Chorney '94, known as the "Unicorn Princess" for her elaborate marathon costumes, is a coach for Girls on the Run, a national nonprofit for third- to eighth-grade girls. Here, she is pictured before a training run at Mine Falls Green Trail in Nashua, New Hampshire, ahead of her 21st Boston Marathon.


I run to feel alive. To feel joyful and to share my joy of running with other people. I coach girls so that I can empower them to feel confident.

Yuki Chorney '94
A female runner looking away with hands on her hips

Alyssa Nee '24, a former Holy Cross distance runner, is running the 2024 Boston Marathon for Impact Melanoma in honor of her grandfather. She was inspired to start running by her family; her sister, Christina Nee '19, and their mother, Patricia (Langway) Nee '88, were also distance runners at Holy Cross.


On certain days, at the start of my run my head will be spinning with the day's to-dos or problems, but with every step it seems as though my problems melt away and I have a clear solution.

Alyssa Nee '24
A man in a cap stands in front of a statue of two marathon runners

Brian Oates '93, executive director of sales at Kraft Sports + Entertainment, is set to complete his 28th marathon. Oates founded the nonprofit Golf Fights Cancer with PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan and has raised nearly $18 million for cancer-related charities and research organizations. Here, he is pictured in front of the Johnny Kelly "Young at Heart" statue in Newton, Massachusetts. 


It's all about the ritual and the community and the shared experience. It's about helping people and feeling like you have a way to give back and make a difference.

Brian Oates '93
A female runner stands with hands on hips on bottom of outdoor stone staircase

Pictured at Franklin Park in Boston, Emily Hughes ’14 is training for her third Boston Marathon. A former cross country co-captain at Holy Cross, Hughes has qualified for six marathons. 


When I hit a wall during training, I try to push through it by visualizing race day and thinking about the excitement and sense of community that is felt on Marathon Monday.

Emily Hughes '14
A woman runner with arms crossed smiles at camera

Former Holy Cross long distance runner Haley Leishman ’19, a qualifier for the 2024 Boston Marathon, signed up for her first Boston as a charity runner for Team With A Vision as a way to connect with a new running community after college. Here, she is pictured before a training run in Wakefield, Massachusetts.


Through high school and running at Holy Cross, the sport remained a great way to stay active, challenge myself and make friends. Six years out of Holy Cross, my best friends are still my college teammates.

Haley Leishman ’19
A man stands with hands in pockets smiling at camera

George Doherty '85, president of Corcoran & Havlin Insurance Group, is training for his 25th marathon. Doherty is a marathon coach at Tenacity, a citywide Boston youth development organization focused on closing the achievement and opportunity gaps for underserved Boston youth. Here, he is pictured in Wellesley, Massachusetts.


Running benefits both the body and the mind. It’s a time to escape and reflect on important things going on at work and at home.

George Doherty '85