Jaclyn Cravens-Pickens, Ph.D., LMFT, participated in the Boston Marathon for its 50th anniversary of the women's distance running section.
On April 18, Jaclyn Cravens-Pickens, Ph.D., LMFT, competed in the 2022 Boston Marathon. This year was the marathon's first race held on St. Patrick's Day since 2019. This year also marked the 50th anniversary of the Boston Marathon. Cravens-Pickens said she and other racers felt empowered and appreciative of their opportunity to race in the marathon this year.
"One of the women from the 1972 field ran this year with her daughter and granddaughter,” Cravens-Pickens said. “Knowing I was crossing the finish line with one of the women who helped women's distance running happen was a highlight."
Before the marathon, Cravens-Pickens trained extensively to prepare for her debut in Boston. She explained that she had to be intentional with her time to train for the race while balancing a family and work-life as an associate professor and director of the couple, marriage, and family therapy master's program. Another obstacle she faced was the difference in terrain between Boston and Lubbock.
To prepare for a course filled with hills was difficult in an environment that lacked such terrain. Cravens-Pickens met with a group of running friends on weekends to overcome such obstacles and stay on a consistent training schedule for long runs. She explained that having a running group made training more enjoyable and kept her accountable.
Cravens-Pickens grew up in a sports-centric family; running allowed her to stay connected to athletics even after moving away from her family. She also used training for the marathon and getting a qualifying time to serve as a goal unrelated to her family and career, which she found to help increase a sense of balance in her life.
“As a therapist and a professor, running also ensures that I am taking care of myself,” Cravens-Pickens said. “Being out on runs gives me space to process the experiences I have as a therapist and I believe that distance running is a critical way I have prevented burnout.”
Cravens-Pickens felt overwhelming support from spectators and locals throughout the weekend before the race. The Boston community members rallied behind those competing in the race, never afraid to share some encouraging words. Spectators and volunteers could be seen along the course cheering on those competing in the race and making sure they reached the finish line. Cravens-Pickens says she had an incredible experience and encourages everyone to participate in the unique tradition, whether as a runner or spectator.