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Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

‘Running since day one’

Junior runs 15 marathons in three years
Provided by Catherine Mackin
Mackin (right) stands with older sisters Caroline and Celeste Mackin after her first marathon, the Sun Marathon. To commemorate the marathon, Mackin and her family went to get burgers, then grabbed Oreos and chocolate milk at the grocery store.

Seven marathons.

Seven months.

Seven states.

Junior Catherine Mackin’s first marathon was with her family in St. George, Utah when she was 13 years old. Three years later, she has run 15.

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“My first first marathon was called the Sun Marathon, which was kind of funny because it started in the snow,” Mackin said. “And what I remember from that marathon is I was really nervous. Everyone was like, ‘How old are you? What are you doing here?’”

Mackin ran the marathon with her mom and her two older sisters Caroline and Celeste Mackin. It was initially supposed to be just her mom and oldest sister to commemorate Caroline leaving for the University of Texas at Austin, but Mackin and her middle sister Celeste also registered to take part as well.

Mackin (second to the left) stands with her two sisters and mom after finishing a marathon. Every time they finish a marathon, Mackin and her family find it difficult to walk through the airport to get home the next day. (Provided by Catherine Mackin)

“One of my favorite memories of [Caroline] was when she ran the whole first part with me even though I was running pretty slow,” Mackin said. “She kept pushing me, and she was entertaining me and giving me tips and that was great. Then she went and ran ahead, and I finished on my own.”

After the Sun Marathon, Mackin and her family went to celebrate.

“We went to In-N-Out and we got milkshakes and burgers,” Mackin said. “Then we went to the grocery store and we got Oreos and chocolate milk. That was really fun.”

Although Mackin had run a half marathon the October before St. George, the Sun Marathon was the most she had ever run. It took her over six hours to finish. Mackin now finishes marathons in around four and a half hours. After that first marathon, she and her family traveled all over the United States running marathons.

Mackin’s family has different pre-marathon routines that get them ready to run. Her sisters each drink Celsius and an energy drink, while Mackin usually eats a banana and gets a “super sugary Starbucks coffee” before running. Although Mackin’s dad doesn’t run marathons with the rest of the family, he runs with Mackin outside of the marathons and trained her when she started to get into marathons.

“I [usually] try to run by myself,” Mackin said. “But my dad gives me determination because if I slow down or I start walking, he’ll be like, ‘Long strides, come on, let’s go, hurry up!’ So I have to push myself. When I’m by myself, I don’t really have that.”

Mackin’s dad has been a motivating force when they go on runs together. Although Mackin doesn’t practice as much in between marathons, she used to train around Rice University and Hermann Park when she first started running marathons.

Mackin stands with her father and sister Celeste after running the Louisiana marathon. Although Mackin’s dad doesn’t run marathons with the rest of the family, he trained Mackin when she was just getting started with marathons. (Provided by Catherine Mackin)

“My dad is the one who wakes up really early with me every day and pushes me, so he’s kind of who I think of when I think of a running buddy,” Mackin said. “He’s the one who’s really pushed me to become the runner that I am today. My sister Caroline, the one who ran with me in [my] first marathon, was the first person who pushed me to start running, and that was great.”

After Caroline left for college, Mackin started running with Celeste more frequently. Both sisters have since left home for college. Recently, though, in preparation for Mackin’s 15th marathon, they ran a half-marathon to the Medical Center for a “fun catch-up.”

Classmate and junior Katelyn Nguyen has seen Mackin’s dedication to running over the two years they’ve known each other.

“She’s been running since day one,” Nguyen said. “In the morning, she’s constantly like, ‘Oh, yeah, I just ran six miles this morning’ or ‘Oh, I have to go for a run later.’ She’s been running with her family for years.”

While training for marathons, Mackin balances school, homework and a job at Mathnasium. Junior Amy Liu, who recently started running, said that despite everything Mackin has going on, she makes time for her friends and has even helped Liu with her running.

“She is really good at balancing everything she does,” Liu said. “I recently started my running journey and she’s been very helpful, giving me advice and motivating me to continue pushing. She’s always so excited for me every time I improve even the littlest bit.”

Mackin hangs the medals from her marathons on her wall. She says seeing the medals “makes [her] happy” and they’re part of why she keeps running marathons. (Provided by Catherine Mackin)
Mackin said some of her biggest challenges are making sure her body can rest and heal. After her recent 14th marathon, Mackin developed tendonitis in her right foot when the tendon in her foot became inflamed due to overuse. In the same week, she ran through the pain to finish her 15th, which she said was “too much stress for [her] foot.”

“It just takes a lot of determination to wake up that early so often,” Mackin said. “And then to push yourself because you’re not going to get better if you just do a jog every day. The lack of sleep and the injuries are really hard. It’s been really hard for me to not go running because my foot hurts so much.”

The physical effects of marathons go beyond injuries. After running 26 miles, Mackin describes her and the rest of her family as almost always unable to walk through the airport to get home the day after. Despite that, Mackin still enjoys marathons and sees herself continuing running in the future.

“I love going to different states,” Mackin said. “You get to meet a lot of new people [and] interesting characters. I love the adrenaline that you get preparing for a marathon. I think the aftermath is when I regret doing it, but then right after the aftermath, I’m happy I did it again. And then I [see] all my medals hanging up above my desk, and it just makes me happy.”

Although marathons take perseverance and by the end of them she feels really tired, Mackin said they’re part of the reason for her determination.

“I think running has really improved my mental stability because [it’s hard] to keep going when you’re on mile 22 and you’re at four hours, but you’re in so much pain and you’ve been running for so long,” Mackin said. “It takes a lot of mental strength to keep going.”

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