Boston Strong

Madison twin sisters qualify
for the Boston Marathon

Konnie, Karla McCollum will run famed race in 2018.

(December 2017) – The Boston Marathon (originally called the American Marathon) was first run April 19, 1897. It is the world’s oldest annual marathon. Until the year 1968, the Boston Marathon was held on Patriot’s Day, a holiday commemorating the start of the Revolutionary War. In 1969, the date was moved to the third Monday of every April.
It is unlike other marathons in that you cannot just sign up and run. Runners need a qualifying time on a certain type of course within a specific date range. The average finish time for runners in the Boston Marathon is 4:18:27. The distance was standardized in 1924 at 42 (26 miles, 385 yards).
The 122nd Boston Marathon will be held Monday, April 16, 2018, with a field of 30,000. Twin sisters Konnie and Karla McCollum of Madison, Ind., will be in the group competing.
On Nov. 4, the 53-year-old sisters qualified for next year’s Boston Marathon during their November run in the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis. They followed an out-and-back loop course, which took competitors past Monument Circle, the Indiana State Capitol and other federal monuments. The McCollums joined hands as they approached the finish line. They crossed the finish line together with their joined hands in the air.
“We were so excited when we crossed the finish line,” Karla said. “We knew we had made it. It is great to pursue a dream with my sister, who is also my best friend.”
Konnie said, “It is like winning an Olympic Gold Medal. It is very difficult and very few qualify.”

Photo provided

Konnie (left) and Karla McCollum earned their ticket to Boston by running in the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis.

This was the eighth marathon in which they competed. The sisters started running at age 13 when they joined track and cross-country teams in their native Louisville, Ky., earning their varsity letter in eighth grade. After hearing about the Boston Marathon, they always told themselves that they were going to run in it one day. This has been a dream of theirs for 40 years.
For much of that time, they put their dream on hold to raise their children. The identical twins married brothers and started families. Karla has four children and six grandchildren. Konnie has four children and four grandchildren. 
During this time, they stopped running but continued walking. Now that their children are grown and have children of their own, they decided it was time to get back into running.
Both are competitors on and off the course. Karla is a cancer survivor, victorious to one of life’s fiercest competitors. Konnie, too, has competed against one of life’s most menacing competitors:  heart disease. Two years ago she suffered a heart attack while running a marathon. Both persevered and stayed the course beating many odds.
“No matter how long it takes to reach a goal or a dream, just keep dreaming,” Karla said. “That’s what has driven me all these years. It was on my bucket list. Now I have reached my goal.”
Now that they have qualified for the Boston Marathon, they plan to continue running, with the goal to better their time by improving their speed.
“I plan to continue competing until I am no longer able,” Karla said.
Today, both have fulltime jobs yet still manage to train. They are coached by John and Stacy Crawley of Madison. They train five days a week, running 50 miles plus working out at Fit For The King gym. They are also active in Madison’s running club, M.O.V.E (Milers Of the Ohio Valley).
The club is for beginning to advanced runners and promotes the benefits of running and power walking, providing encouragement and building friendships.

“It’s great that Konnie and Karla were able to qualify for the Boston Marathon after all the hard work, Stacy Crawley said. “They really deserve it.”

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