Ice Hockey, Sports

Familiar faces from women’s ice hockey team will run in Boston Marathon

In a crowd of 30,000 runners, Boston University’s women’s ice hockey team will see two familiar faces on Patriots’ Day— assistant coach Megan Myers and assistant head athletic trainer Emily Gibb. 

Boston University women’s ice hockey assistant head athletic trainer Emily Gibb. Gibb is running the Boston Marathon on Monday to support Mass Eye and Ear Hospital in finding a cure for conditions such as deafness, blindness and other upper body conditions. COURTESY OF BU ATHLETICS

Both have taken on the challenge of completing the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon in honor of two different causes — Myers is running for AKTIV Against Cancer, and Gibb is running for Mass Eye and Ear. 

Myers, who joined the BU women’s hockey program in May 2023, was inspired by Gibb to train and run the marathon. 

“When I got to BU, [Gibb] told me that she was running [in the marathon], and I’m like, ‘Hey, if you’re going to run, I’ll do it too,’” Myers said.

Since then, both have balanced training for the upcoming 128th Boston Marathon with their responsibilities as leaders in the Terrier hockey locker room. With most of the team’s games being played on Friday and Saturday evenings, training for the race while fulfilling their team duties meant making serious sacrifices. 

“Getting the long runs in, a lot of times, was trying to make a choice between getting up early Friday or Saturday and doing a long run and then staring down a long workday with an evening game,” Gibb said. “Or, do it partly on a treadmill or shift the long run to Sunday and then adapt the week from there.”

Either way, both have raised thousands of dollars for their respective charities. 

They must raise at least $5,000 for their respective causes by race day. AKTIV Against Cancer, the team that Myers is running for, is a nonprofit emphasizing physical exercise as an essential part of cancer treatment. Gibb is running for Mass Eye and Ear, which is a specialty hospital that is working to find a cure for conditions such as deafness, blindness and other upper body diseases. 

Aside from raising money and meeting personal fitness goals, the two inspire their team. 

“It’s really cool for [the team], just like we always say, ‘We’re coaches and support staff, but we’re role models,’” said Tara Watchorn, head coach of the women’s ice hockey team. “You can still continue to train and set goals and achieve them … I think it’s really cool for the girls to see that. They’ve been supporting [Myers and Gibb] a lot, and they’re excited to cheer them on, too.” 

While both will be running their first marathon, Gibb has experience in distance running, but Myers does not. Myers, however, has built on her career as a professional hockey player for the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League while training for the race. 

“This is the hardest thing I’ve done athletically in my entire life,” Myers said. “I played all the highest levels of hockey, both pro and high-level college, and once I started running, I think it’s one of the most disciplined and mentally taxing sports ever.” 

One of Myers’ favorite runs was before the team played in the Beanpot Final at TD Garden. She ran 12 miles, going from BU’s campus to TD Garden then back again. 

Boston University women’s ice hockey assistant coach Megan Myers stands during the national anthem before a game against Northeastern in October. Myers is running the Boston Marathon on Monday to support AKTIV Against Cancer, a nonprofit organization that advocates for physical exercise as a part of cancer treatment. HUI-EN LIN/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

“I wanted to see all the signage of the women on the jumbotrons and outside the TD Garden, so I thought that was pretty cool,” Myers said. 

Aside from conditioning, Boston’s unpredictable weather can play a crucial role in a runner’s success. While most of the training takes place over the winter, the race may happen on a warm, sunny day.

“I did one 10-mile training run that literally downpoured for the entire time,” Gibb said. “I have been training in coats and gloves and rain and wind, and it looks like it might be 65 [degrees] and sunny [on race day].” 

While the two have both been cheered on by the BU women’s hockey program, they haven’t done as much training together as one might expect. 

“She is way faster than me,” Myers said. “At the beginning of running, I was pretty slow, trying just to get back into it, so I was a little embarrassed to run with her.”

Regardless, the two have connected over the training experience. 

“It’s just been really nice to share this experience with somebody who has a lot of the same demands that I do because you feel less alone when you’re trying to figure out a lot of this stuff,” Gibbs said. “I think it’s a little easier for me to jump in feet first, and I just really admire how Megan … has thrown her whole heart into this process.” 

As the two gear up for one of the most challenging feats of their athletic careers, the rest of the Terrier women’s hockey program is ready to cheer them on and learn from their dedication. 

“In anything that we do, they support each other just like we do as teammates, and I think that helped push through any doubts,” Coach Watchorn said.

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