Simpson alumni and staff continue challenge off campus

by Laura Dillavou

Being located about five hours from Chicago has its advantages:the shopping, the Cubs, and the Chicago Marathon. For a few Simpsonstaff and alumni, this marathon is a starting point to bigger andmore competitive marathons.

The Chicago Marathon was the first for Laurie Dienberg-Hoppe,assistant director of resident life for Simpson. Through a marathontraining book, “The Non-Runner’s Guide to Marathons,”Dienberg-Hoppe underwent a 16-week program in order to prepare forthe event.

“This book was written by a UNI professor, and it was written ina common language and a format that anyone could understand. Itguided me through the physical stages and changes that I would gothrough, provided nutritional information and also gave mentalinsight into running,” she said.

Dienberg-Hoppe grew up in Chicago and has always dreamt aboutrunning in a marathon. Though an injury plagued her time, she stillfelt the experience was worth it.

“For anyone running a marathon, this is a great first race toenter. I want to do this again, maybe in New York, but definitelyin Chicago again. The spectator support, as well as the otherrunners, are just incredible,” she said.

Derek McChurch, 2003 Simpson graduate, agreed withDienberg-Hoppe on many points about the race.

“This was a great experience. I loved running in this race. Theother 40,000

people running against me made the marathon quite an opportunityfor me to compete in a very physical and mental way. The greatspectators made the race, too.”

For McChurch, running has been a part of his life since middleschool. While at Simpson, he competed in track and cross country.Today, he still finds running to be an important aspect of hislife.

“Another teammate and I decided we wanted to run a marathon, sowe narrowed it down to Chicago and New York City. We contacted anold coach and started our training program,” McChurch said.

Running in a program in which results and further training arebased on heart rate, McChurch would run anywhere from 1 hour to 3hours a day. This intensity yielded positive results forMcChurch.

“I feel like I ran very well. This was definitely a really goodexperience. It made me tougher mentally and physically. Everyoneshould do this, just to get that satisfaction about it,” hesaid.

Claiming to be a non-runner, Kate Burrell, career specialist forSimpson, also ran in the Chicago Marathon. Though she ran in 2002,the feeling is still with her.

“Because of the mental and physical challenge, I did somethingthat I didn’t think I could do. Being able to accomplish thistranslates to so many other things in my life. The focus,determination, and challenge that a race brings are all things toapply to life,” she said.

No matter if running is seen as a staple of life, or a goal toreach, Dienberg-Hoppe, McChurch and Burrell have all accomplished asuperhuman feat. The 26 mile run to the finish line is paved withdedication, focus and determination for all runners.