Macy Hill overcame what seemed like 26 miles of trials and tribulations to realize her dream: Run the world’s oldest marathon.
First, a broken foot kept her from running in the Boston Marathon. Then, she broke her leg in a freak skiing accident. Most recently, a global pandemic caused the marathon’s cancellation.
Now, though, Hill, 41, is ready to conquer the 125th Boston Marathon on Oct. 11.
“It’s been a good testament to my kids,” Hill said. “You just don’t give up. Two surgeries later and pretty much four years.”
In 2008, Hill was diagnosed with severe vertigo. Her doctor recommended she start running to help the dizziness. Six weeks later, Hill was vertigo-free.
“For some people, it comes and goes. Mine was constant. I was running into walls, and I was all bruised up,” Hill said.
Hill first qualified for the 2018 Boston Marathon in October 2016. Five months later, Hill broke her foot playing tennis. She had surgery and started walking again in May and started running in August to prepare for the marathon.
Disaster struck, again, when Hill was hit by an 11-year-old skier and tore her ACL, MCL and meniscus.
“It was kind of a strange story, I was skiing the last run of the day, per usual, and I got hit,” Hill said. “The mother of the son that hit me was the VP of Gatorade. I made a new friend out of it.”
After another surgery and no running for a year, Hill dedicated herself to training in an attempt to requalify for Boston. She failed to qualify at the New Orleans Marathon, but Hill did not give up. She ran the Mount Hood Marathon, the Chicago Marathon and the New York Marathon in 2019, requalifying for the Boston Marathon in 2020.
Once again factors out of her control kept her from running in her dream marathon. The global COVID-19 pandemic canceled her running plans in 2020. No marathons were held that year so Hill used her 2019 Mt. Lemmon Marathon time of three hours, twenty-three minutes, and twenty-five seconds.
This year’s Boston Marathon accepted 14,609 runners out of 23,824 qualifiers. To qualify, runners had to beat the usual qualifying time for their age group and gender by seven minutes and forty-seven seconds. Fewer participants mean a faster field time at this year’s event.
But Hill is accustomed to challenges.
“I work full time, and I have two kids. I was on a mission. I’m going to complete this. I’m going to get it done,” Hill said. “I think it was hugely defeating, not just for me personally, but emotionally. You put so much time and energy into something that you’re trying to be really good at and it gets taken from you three times by things out of your control.”
Jerry Johnson, 51, has been a running coach for nearly 20 years. He’s the founder of Jerry’s Running Club, of which Hill has been a part for about a decade. Johnson described the Boston Marathon as the “Mount Everest of running.”
“Boston has been the exact same course all those years. It’s a ton of nostalgia, and it’s the only one you have to qualify for,” Johnson said.
The group of runners, which peaked at 250 people a few years back, meets at 4:30 a.m. throughout the week. Hill makes it a priority to be there.
“She’s just a real testament of sticking with it, which is a big thing in the running community,” Johnson said. “Running can be a true testament of a person’s character and personality and she is an example of that, so it doesn’t usually happen overnight. It usually takes seasons and years to get to where you want to get to.”
More than anything, Hill got through her struggles to teach her kids a lesson: “Don’t give up.”
Her son George Hill, 15, saw his mom’s journey as a testament to her character.
“My mom is competitive by heart. I’m really proud to have a mother who never gives up on a dream,” George said. “When I’m usually taking a test, and I’m super wrecked and stuff, I think to myself, ‘My mom is running three-hour forty-five-minute marathons.’ ”
George, who attends Fort Worth Country Day, said his mother is an inspiration to him when he is in tough situations.
Hill sets the tone for her children as she leads by example. She will be in Boston on Oct. 11 to conquer the Mount Everest of marathons.
“I’m a regular runner. I’m not an elite. I’m not a professional, but I just will not give up,” Hill said. “I’m going to defeat this marathon.”
Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement reporter at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.