Dean of Students Amy Kerr Runs in Marine Corps Marathon


By Jimmy Cassidy

On the Sunday before Pope Francis’ visit to Catholic University, Amy Kerr ran 20 miles. After the four hour training run through Rock Creek Park and past the US Capitol, Kerr prepared for one of the most hectic weeks of work in her life. Throughout the week, she handled a myriad of emails from students and parents concerning the Papal visit’s ramifications. She administered the appropriate directions to the resident assistants regarding temporary residence hall visitation policies. She was involved in the process of distributing tickets to the students for the Pope’s speech to Congress on the Capitol lawn. Then, on the Saturday at the end of the long week, Kerr laced up her running shoes and embarked on another 20 mile run.

For Kerr, the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life at Catholic University, the time-demanding responsibilities of her job have been the toughest part about training for this year’s Marine Corps Marathon, which takes place on Sunday, October 25th. She is not letting them hold her back, however.

“Races have their own sense of excitement and adrenaline,” Kerr said. “I am excited for that rush on race day compared to the training runs, and the feeling of finishing the whole thing.”

Kerr, who got into running after the birth of her daughter in 2013, has run the Marine Corps Marathon 10k race twice before, but has had her mind set on running the whole 26.2 miles in this event for a while now. In a relatively short time, the 32-year old has become no stranger to running distances, having completed two half marathons and one full marathon in the spring of 2014.

Kerr has been training with fellow Catholic University professional staff member, Ana Lincoln. Their program has consisted of shorter runs during the week and endurance-building long runs on the weekends, with their 20 mile run being the lengthiest. She notes that anyone can do these runs because it is all about “mental grit.” During training for their first marathon in 2014, Lincoln was pregnant, so training runs were much slower. This developed a tendency to talk as they ran, an inclination they have continued to do even at faster speeds.

“She and I are going to talk about whatever pops into our heads for about 16 miles probably,” said Kerr. “It’ll be quite lovely!”

“She is extremely determined and even though she has a busy schedule, she doesn’t let anything stand in the way of her training runs and workouts,” Lincoln, Assistant Director at the Office of Campus Activities, said about Kerr. “She is definitely ready to finish the marathon.”

In terms of race day apparel, Kerr leans more on the practical side instead of superstitious. She does not have one favorite running outfit or pair of shoes to wear.

“I couldn’t even tell you what’s on my running mix playlist,” Kerr said. “I’ll have one earbud in for background music and one out to talk to Ana.”

In fact, Kerr might be seen in a trash bag on the day of the race, depending on the weather. She explained that she has learned through other long runs that wearing an actual trash bag over her running clothes is the best option for a disposable windbreaker or insulator. If she wears it, she can just rip it off when too hot, discard it and continue jogging.

“Dean Kerr is running a marathon? That doesn’t surprise me; she’s always exercising,” Meg Ross, a senior at Catholic who works in the Dean of Students Office, said. “I don’t know how she does it.”

Kerr is confident that she beat her previous marathon time of 4 hours and 50 minutes by about 20 minutes. She is most excited about the positive atmosphere of the race’s spectators and overall message supporting those who have served this country.

Kerr will join more than 30,000 others to run in the 40th Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday, October 25th in the nation’s capital. The “Marathon of the Monuments” will take its participants from the start at Route 110 in Arlington, to the national monuments and landmarks DC has to offer, and finally to the finish line at the Marine Corps War Memorial after 26.2 miles.

“I’ll be doing the 10k again next year,” Kerr noted. “Marathon training is miserable!”

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