For our "Run Hard, Risk Heartbreak" campaign, we asked athletes and community members to share what the concept means to them. Stephen Bourguet is Heartbreaker, coach, Providence and Newport marathon winner, course record holder of the Baystate Half, and a climate scientist. Here's his take:
HB: What does "Run Hard, Risk Heartbreak" mean to you?
SB: "Run Hard, Risk Heartbreak" means not being afraid of failure, both in training and while racing. I always set high goals for myself, and I know that there are big risks in doing so. Heartbreak stings, but I never regret going for it.
Do you have an example in running or life that you'd like to share?
I ran hard and risked Heartbreak at the California International Marathon in December 2019. I set the ambitious goal of running the Olympic Trials B standard of 2:19:00 that day after training at a high level for a marathon for the first time that fall. I was on pace with about 5k to go before hitting "The Wall" and ultimately finishing 2 seconds over the qualifying time. I gave everything I had over those 26.2 miles and don't regret anything about how I ran that race; instead, I'm proud of the effort and I'm excited to run that hard when I race again.
How would you describe your relationship with running?
Running has been one of the few constants in my life over the past decade. It's the common thread that connects me today to who I was throughout that time, and I've always been able to fall back on it when other aspects of my life haven't gone as planned.
When did you start running and why?
I started running in middle school as a way to stay in shape for the other sports I was playing at the time, but I realized pretty quickly that running was the main reason that I was good at other sports, so I did away with all of the extra rules and sticks involved in other sports and stuck to running.
Who keeps you running?
On a daily basis my girlfriend, Eileen, keeps me running. Her enthusiasm for the sport keeps me motivated, and a little bit of accountability doesn't hurt too. Jonny keeps me working hard 2 or 3 times a week, both as a coach and a workout partner, and along with guys like Jarred, Drew, and Fitch, reminds me that working hard can be fun too. The rest of the Heartbreak community is an inspiration for me to keep running and loving the process, especially the friends that I've made while coaching at the South End and Cambridge.
What do you love about running?
I love the simplicity of running. Life can be complicated, so I use running as a time to relax and remove myself from whatever might be stressing me out.
What was your favorite item you wore and why?
The Haldsted Hat. I'd been in the market for a new running hat for a while, and it fit perfectly. The subtle design is exactly what I wanted too.