As an athlete and a first-year DMD student, Sarah Wicheta thinks about her medical classes when she runs. With each stride, breath, and heartbeat, she calculates how her body is functioning and how it corresponds with what she’s learning in anatomy and physiology.
On Monday, April 18, Wicheta will run in the 120th Boston Marathon. She estimates that she’s logged over 500 miles training for Monday’s race, which she qualified for by running a marathon in her hometown of Wenatchee, Washington in under three hours and thirty-five minutes.
This winter she ran over 40 miles a week, while balancing the demands of the new DMD curriculum.
“I started Homeostasis I in February and was a little worried about the balance, but the self-directed schedule helps, and running is such stress relief. You can drop the books and go,” she said.
Wicheta’s path to Harvard School of Dental Medicine began with a dream of working in healthcare and helping others. As a biology student at Washington State University, she traveled to Guatemala with the non-profit medical organization Hearts in Motion. While she was there she had the chance to watch oral surgeons operate on cleft palates and change lives. It was that experience that led to her decision to attend dental school and pursue a career in oral and maxillofacial surgery.
Since coming to Harvard she’d been immersed in her classes, and impressed with her instructors. “We have access to brilliant faculty who are dedicated clinicians, and teachers. I feel so lucky to be taught by these people,” she said.
Instead of going to class on Monday, Wicheta will get up four hours before the marathon begins to make the journey to Hopkinton, MA– the start of the 26.2 mile course. She’s excited to experience the 120-year tradition, and to be cheered on by the legendary marathon crowds. When she crosses the finish line she’s looking forward to seeing her family who have come from Washington to see her run, and enjoying a well-deserved banana split.
Fast facts about Sarah:
Total miles run training for the Boston Marathon: 500 miles
Favorite pre-run snack: Peanut butter and banana on toast
Favorite post-run indulgence: Ice cream (preferably a banana split)
Secret weapon to keep running: Listening to music, podcasts, and audio books