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Murray Journal

Viewmont teacher runs Boston Marathon with the support of students

Nov 22, 2021 12:15PM ● By Julie Slama

Viewmont fourth-grade teacher Kristen Snow was all smiles after completing the Boston Marathon Oct. 11 with her fastest time, 3 hours 44 minutes. (Photo courtesy of Kristen Snow)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

There was a time fourth-teacher Kristen Snow didn’t think she would ever run faster than a four-hour marathon.

“I was never a fast runner, and I didn’t know how to be a fast runner,” she said, recalling her five-hour Deseret News marathon. 

Fast forward a handful of years to this October when the entire Viewmont student body was cheering Snow on and running with her before she departed to run the prestigious Boston Marathon.

“It was so awesome,” said Snow who also is one of the coaches with the school’s Girls on the Run program. “The whole school lined the field outside, cheering for me and had all made signs. It was just an amazing send-off. It was really special.”

That feeling of support from 2,368 miles way carried with her through her 26.2-mile race.

“I did really well,” she said. “I beat my goal. I wanted to finish in 3:45 and I ran it in 3:44.”

Snow said that the start was a rolling start, so “as soon as I got there, I started to run. I felt great, and it was so cool because there are spectators the entire 26.2 miles. I’ve never seen so many people so excited to cheer random strangers on. People would cheer ‘you’ve got this’ and ‘you can do this.’ The atmosphere was phenomenal.”

However, it wasn’t total strangers. Her husband and two boys traveled with her from Murray to Massachusetts to support her. Her brother and father, who recently was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, traveled from Virginia. The group cheered her on at 18 miles, then her brother met her at mile marker 25 to cheer again and her family celebrated with her at the end of the race.

“It was amazing—the people, the spirit of it. Everybody is there to help each other. It’s hard to put into words, just the emotion of it,” Snow said.

In fact, before she made it to the end, she stopped for a minute about one mile from the end of the race, tears streaming down her face.

She wasn’t injured or exhausted, rather “I was just emotional knowing that I’ve come so far. There was a time when women couldn’t even run this marathon or any marathons and then knowing that we’re here doing it, it was super emotional. I cried just the whole rest of the way. I was so excited to be here; I was excited to be done. I was running this marathon and there was a time when I didn’t even think I could do it. Knowing that I qualified and worked so hard to get here was one of those surreal moments.”

Snow, 38, began running in her 20s as a form of staying in shape, but soon she became a dedicated runner, getting up at 4:30 a.m. to run eight to 10 miles with friends before going to school. She keeps a pair of running shoes at her desk in case students want to run with her during the day.

Snow ran her first half-marathon 11 years ago, then expanded to her first marathon.

“I hired some running coaches after my first marathon, then I ran a 3:40. So, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this can happen. I can run faster,” she said. 

That was four years ago, when she ran the marathon in Las Vegas. 

Since then, she ran the St. George marathon twice, qualifying both in 2018 and 2019 for the Boston Marathon. However, to limit the number of runners, the Boston Athletic Association sets a cut-off time of those times submitted. It was after she submitted her first time of 3:33, that she learned she missed the cut-off by six seconds.

“At that point, I thought I have to do it again because I have to qualify and actually have a big enough buffer to make it,” she said.

Her 2019 time of 3:26 made the cut-off, but then COVID-19 canceled the 2020 marathon. She had hoped to run it in April 2021, but it got pushed back to Oct. 11.

“They were able to put it on, but they kept the field down and only had a limited number of entries. I was lucky enough to still meet that cut-off,” she said, saying her Boston Marathon medal will first be proudly displayed in her living room before it will be moved to join other medals on a shelf with her mantra, “She believes she could, so she did.”

Snow said that she knew her first marathon is considered by many to be harder than many.

“I like challenges. Now I do ultramarathons. I love being able to push my body to see what I’m capable of,” she said, adding she has raced two 50-milers and two 50-kilometers and a 100-miler is on her bucket list along with a half Iron Man triathlon. “I love running. I love that I don’t need anything except a pair of running shoes and I can walk out the door anywhere and just run. I feel like I can run my whole life. I plan to keep running marathons in my 70s and 80s.”

During the race, she knew she wasn’t doing it alone. Back at Viewmont Elementary, students were tracking her progress.

“They were all narrating what mile I was on, so they were all following the race instead of paying attention in class. I was told that when I crossed the finish line, they all cheered for me,” said Snow, who plans to take the medal to school so her students can be inspired by it. “I’ve told my students if you ever want to run a marathon, I’ll be there with you.”