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Friday, Aug 12, 2022

Run, Don't Walk: Two Midd Grads Cross the VCM Finish Line

While their classmates from the class of 2019 walked across the stage at commencement last Sunday, Chloe Ferrone ’19 and Sam Boudreau ’19 decided to celebrate their graduation a little differently. Ferrone and Boudreau both ran in the Vermont City Marathon on May 26, skipping out on the festivities that took place on campus that day.

Ferrone, who has run several half marathons and the 19-mile TAM trek, said she made up her mind to run this race, despite the scheduling conflict with her graduation ceremony, over Christmas break.

“When I found out they were on the same day, I decided the marathon sounded like more fun,” she said, explaining that she had wanted to run the race for a long time.

Ferrone is pleased with her performance, which she completed in just over four hours. Her family traveled to Vermont from Nebraska, and instead of watching her cross a stage at commencement, they watched her cross a finish line.

“I was absolutely blown away,” Ferrone’s mother, Susan, said of watching her daughter run the marathon. “I watched her struggle and wanted to help, just like any parent does when they see their child struggling. I watched her persevere and then, because of her own strength, talent, hard work, tenacity and willpower, she ran by and was gone. It was a powerful visual image of the work she had invested in her college career.”

While Ferrone’s family showed up to support her during her race, they were not as enthusiastic about the idea when she first brought it up over the holidays. But, Ferrone said, she soon convinced them that they would rather spend a few hours in downtown Burlington than at a commencement ceremony.

Ferrone’s mother said it took her some time to wrap her head around the idea before she got on board.

“This idea challenged conventional paradigms I had about the way you finish a college career,” she said. “I took some time to think about what was important to me about my child’s graduation from college, and what was important to her. Closure and celebration were main themes for me.... And, wow, doesn’t a marathon sort of epitomizes closure and celebration?”

For Boudreau, a St. Albans local, the race held a different significance.

“I decided to run because my mom is the operations manager for the marathon, therefore, she was unable to attend the day of graduation,” he said. “I thought it would be best if my entire family could be together.”

Boudreau was also happy with his performance at the race, completed in around three hours and forty minutes, and said his entire family supported his decision to choose the marathon over commencement.

“They were very supportive, especially my mom,” he said, “She was there to put the finishing medal around me at the end of the marathon when I finished. It was the best first-marathon experience I could have ever have wanted.”

As a Vermonter, Boudreau felt a special connection to the race.

“The Burlington marathon is an extremely important event in Vermont,” he said. “It brings people from all of the US and, during some years, all over the world to Burlington and our little state.”

Both Boudreau and Ferrone said they do not regret choosing the marathon over Sunday’s graduation festivities.

“Everyone tells me I didn’t miss much anyway, and the sense of accomplishment is totally worth it,” Ferrone said.

Boudreau, who plans to attend an MFA program in Montana, said he will walk at that graduation in a few years. For her part, Ferrone is sticking around Vermont and working at the WhistlePig distillery. With her first marathon behind her, she feels up to the next challenge.

“Who knows what I’ll do next,” she said.