CITGO sponsors three teachers to run Boston Marathon


Tim Dalton

With smiles on their faces, Dalton, Doherty and Idell are ready for the long hours of running ahead of them in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo

Leila Rexhepi, Copy Editor

On April 17, Denise Dalton, Matt Doherty and Megan Idell ran the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon thanks to CITGO. Standing as the world’s oldest annual marathon, gathering 30,000 athletes and donating $15 million annually to charity, the marathon runs important on a local and  global level.

With CITGO as the fuel sponsor of the event, every year they choose those who make a difference in local communities – first responders, healthcare workers, non-profit workers, and teachers – to run in the Boston Marathon. 

“It made you realize that you’re a part of something bigger,” Idell said. “Lemont as a high school is big and when you think about CITGO, there’s people from Texas, St. Louis and all over the place. So bringing us all together with a common goal and challenge ahead of us was cool.”

However, each selected teacher had their own redemption story from trying to make it through the first and last few miles while it rained.

“The old joke is ‘it’s a 20 mile warmup and a 10k race.’ That’s pretty much what it is in terms of mental fortitude,” Doherty said.

In addition to cold and rainy weather conditions, Doherty faced physical challenges as well. A combination of allergies, which caused a sore throat and congestion, and a significant foot injury posed problems for training, speedwork and uphill running.

“I think the hardest part for me was the first hill…it reminds me of a Lemont hill and that’s the first of four consecutive good, steep hills in the course,” Doherty said. “And it’s not so much the hills that are difficult, it’s just when they are.”

Despite all these challenges, Doherty finished the race in three hours and 36 minutes.

For Dalton, this was her second time running the Boston Marathon, and while last time was a terrible experience, she set out to make this year’s run her redemption. Dalton ran the marathon in three hours and 53 minutes, 10 minutes faster than her last time, with the help of training and support from family members and staff.

“There were a few times during the race where it was like ‘I want to quit’, ‘I want to stop’ but I would look down at my phone and there would be a message from…somebody who was encouraging you,” Dalton said. “You just keep going when people are peer pressuring you and watching you online.”

For Idell, training became a major part of her marathon experience. After finding out her acceptance on Feb. 14, Idell began running five to six days a week until the day of the marathon. With the weather being unpredictable this season, she sometimes had to run indoors completing longer distances on a treadmill.

“I kept thinking about what a family member had said which was ‘just take it one 5k at a time’ so I thought about that for the first 5k,” Idell said.

However, when it came to the actual racing day, she kept a clear mind even with the weather and hours ahead of her. Idell finished the race in four hours and 14 minutes.

“The last 6 [miles]… [I was like] ‘Okay, so I just have like one hour left of running. I can do this. I can do anything for an hour. Like one hour left. Let’s go,’” Idell said.

While there was an assortment of difficulties and obstacles, the Boston Marathon was a successful and memorable opportunity for all.

English teacher Cara Forde participated in the 2019 Boston Marathon after she applied for the same CITGO opportunity.

“It was one of the coolest experiences of my life,” said Forde.