Summer Sanders Is Running the Boston Marathon Again

The gold medal-winning Olympian will tackle Heartbreak Hill for the second time.

Summer Sanders

Training selfie! Photo provided by Summer Sanders.

For Summer Sanders, the 41-year-old mother of two, who won two Olympic gold medals (and a silver and a bronze) in swimming at the 1992 games, running the 2013 Boston Marathon was all about checking Boston off her bucket list. She told us last year that crossing the finish line will be a “dream come true.” And while she did finish, (3:33:13–so she beat Joey McIntyre by 24 minutes), Sanders says that this time, for her sixth marathon, she’s running, simply, just to run.

Were you planning on running the Boston Marathon again before the tragedy, or is it because of the tragedy?

I was not planning on running any marathons in 2014. The 2013 Boston Marathon was, for me, a milestone. A bucket list event that was supposed to be my last marathon until my next big milestone, turning 50. But I couldn’t leave marathoning on a memory like that, so I am running this year to honor everyone in the running community and those unsung heroes from April 15, 2013.

What keeps you motivated to keep running?

For me, it’s all about the finish line for motivation, and the inspiration to sign-up comes from my girlfriends. This one, however, is for me and for the moment of honoring all from that day last year.

Why is the Boston Marathon special to you? 

Boston is the cream of the crop of the marathon world. It has such history that you feel such honor just being a part of it. All the other races have pacers to get you to a Boston qualifying time. I have only run Boston once, last year.

What are some of your favorite training methods?

I love to run, but training can be hard, especially with a family and a crazy travel schedule. I often do sprints with my kids, where they bike and I run along side them so we can “race” each other for a quarter-mile or shorter repeats.  And for a lot of the mid-mileage training runs, I go with friends. It’s simply more fun with my girlfriends because conversation is a great pain reliever.

What are some of your favorite foods to train with before and after runs? 

I love KIND bars. My favorites are coconut and almond and the dark chocolate and sea salt because staying fueled helps keep me from getting sick or injured. Bananas have also made a great comeback in my life. My kids eat them all the time on the go, which has inspired my go-to pre-run morning meal of peanut butter and banana on toast. And post run, I do my best to get something into the system in that important 30-minute window. Smoothies are a big component of that with leafy greens and yogurt and almond milk. And if I’m on the road, then I just hope there’s a Jamba Juice around.

What are you most looking forward to?

Honestly, I can’t wait for the start. The moment will be filled with such emotion and meaning, which will be such a great reminder for all of us why we are there and who we are running for.

Summer Sanders

Sanders training in her home state of Utah with her Boston Marathon 2013 jacket. Photo proved by Summer Sanders.