A Mustang grad and figure who can be seen running around town quite often competed in her first ever Boston Marathon Monday.
“It is very historic in general in the running community. So, it was cool to be a part of something that big,” said Emily Helms.
Helms graduated from Mustang High School in 2013 as one of the best runners in school history.
Helms finished her high school career with seven state titles and eight All-State honors in cross country and track.
Running had always been fun to her and she had always been successful. So, she signed to further the fun at Oklahoma State University.
But when she got to OSU the fun was gone and it had become a job.
“Oh, it is a whole other animal. It will chew you up and spit you out,” Helms said.
Her four years in college were filled with injuries and lack of confidence, which comes with injuries.
So, after she graduated from OSU in December 2017 she wanted to get back to having fun while running.
Helms signed up to run with Red Coyote and met some friends that made running enjoyable again.
Those friends mentioned that they were going to run a marathon in Pennsylvania and asked if she would be interested in running her first marathon with them.
“They said, ‘Hey, we are going to go run a marathon. You should come with us’ and at the time- after I graduated college, I was just trying to enjoy running again. I kind of had a rough go with it for a bit there and I just wanted to have fun with it again. So, I said why not, and I went with them to Erie, Pennsylvania,” Helms said.
It took some persuading, but eventually Helms decided that she should go and do it, and just see what happens.
Helms, a highly competitive person, went into the race with no expectations or goals other than just “go have fun.”
“I didn’t have anything set out. I just wanted to go have fun with running again,” Helms said.
On Sept. 8 the group ran in the marathon and walked away with personal bests and three Boston Marathon qualifiers.
Leading up to the Boston Marathon, Helms believed that she would just make the trip and run the race. But her mom and step dad had other plans.
“Yeah, it was really cool. So, whenever I qualified, I figured I would just go and hang out with the friends that I qualified with. But then my mom and step dad were like, ‘No, this is like a huge deal. We are coming to,’” Helms said. “My brother he was able to make it out too and his girlfriend came to because she went to school out here. So, it turned into basically a family vacation.”
The whole family went; mom, step dad, brother and brother’s girlfriend.
It became a family vacation and Helms wouldn’t want it any other way.
“They say that they like to watch me run a lot. I don’t know that, I just run. They said it was really cool to get to witness the event as spectators as well,” Helms said.
At the starting line Helms couldn’t connect to satellites. So, she ran the race blind and no idea of what her pace was.
But she was having fun and enjoying the crowd of people that lined the course for all 26 miles.
Helms remembers giving high fives to somewhere around 200 children and doesn’t even remember how many adults gave her a high five.
“You are never alone. The course was lined with spectators the entire way, sometimes six or seven people deep. They were all cheering and excited to have you there,” Helms said. “It was really neat. I had never felt that type of support for a running event, even in college. You can just tell that it’s so important to this city- the race is.”
Around the 30 kilometers mark runners hit an area of hills, but the hills didn’t scare Helms because she reflected on her training at home and knew that she ran the hills of the back roads in Mustang in preparation.
Helms’ body started to tighten up on her, but she looked back at all of the practices in high school and all the practices in college to find the fire to keep going.
“You really can push your body to do more than you think you can, you just have to get through that mental bump. I think I learned that from my teammates in college the most. I had a ton of support, not only from the community, I got a lot of text messages and things afterwards congratulating me and telling me that they were really proud. But, I also had multiple teammates text me, asking me how it was, what it was like and they were all just so excited and supportive even still,” Helms said.
Through all of this, she continued to have fun running.
Helms finished the race in 3:20.32, which is a pace of 7:38.
She had just finished her first Boston Marathon, which is one of the biggest/most prestigious marathons in America.
Helms had so much fun enjoying running again that after the race her and a friend told each other that they would do it again together no matter where it took them.
After winning seven state championships in high school, earning a scholarship to OSU and running at the Division 1 level, one of the best runners in Mustang High School history is having fun doing something she has done for her whole life… running.