Earlier this month, S. Shi ’23 and J. Du ’23 completed their first half marathon—the Suzhou Jinji Lake Half Marathon in Suzhou, Jiangsu, China—and ran the race together. The 10th grade boarding students are both distance learning from Shanghai this school year.
The students are members of the Varsity Cross Country team and used the pandemic as an opportunity to get more invested in their sport. “I always wanted to try the half marathon and see my potential, especially after I started running regularly this year at home,” Du said. “One of the silver linings of learning remote is I got to spend more time on my hobbies [like running].”
Upper School Learning Specialist Jillian DeBusk is Shi’s advisor, and since DeBusk herself is a runner with two marathons under her belt, the two spent a lot of time talking about running. When Shi and Du decided to tackle the half marathon, Shi asked her advisor to help her create a training plan. “Each time we met during advisory,” DeBusk said, “we would check in on how it was going and how she felt. At our last meeting before her race, I gave her advice on how to do a shake-out run, her hydration plan and what she should eat the night before. We also talked about the importance of not trying anything new on race day and running your own race.”
That phrase in particular motivated Shi on race day, she said. “[Ms. DeBusk] talked about pacing and told me to run my own race no matter how fast people around me might be running,” Shi said. “Throughout my whole race, her words ‘run your own race’ really encouraged me to keep running.”
“The running bug has certainly bitten her,” DeBusk said, “so I can't wait to see what she does next.”
"My favorite Dana Hall memory would be the first time I ever sang the Alma Mater with my fellow classmates. That was most definitely the first time I felt like I was truly a part of something. Joining hands with my future Silver Sisters made me truly feel like I was a Dana girl."