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TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

Setbacks and slim chances didn’t stop this Horned Frog from crossing the finish line

Rehab work for a torn ACL unleashed a passion for running in a TCU senior who completed this year’s TCS New York Marathon.
Lauren Grace Perry poses with her medal after completing the New York City Marathon. (Photo courtesy of: Janet and Chris Perry)

The acceptance rate for this year’s New York Marathon was about 5%, but a TCU marketing major made the cut.

Lauren Grace Perry ran her first marathon this fall after she developed a passion for running while doing rehab work for a torn ACL. Her application was selected from among 128,000 people from 153 countries and all 50 states who entered a drawing for the chance to participate. 

“I got accepted on my first try, which is unheard of,” Perry said. “The lottery has a 5% success rate, so when I got in on my first try, I knew I had to do it.”

Perry, inspired by her father’s New York Marathon run 14 years ago, tore her ACL playing club soccer during her first semester at TCU.

“Once I recovered, I started taking running seriously and trained for my first race in the fall of my sophomore year,” Perry said.

Lauren Grace Perry hugs her mother, Janet, after completing the New York City Marathon. (Photo Courtesy of: Janet and Chris Perry)

Perry completed three half-marathons before earning a spot in the New York Marathon, noting that the training required for the half-marathons was comparatively less demanding than for the full marathon. 

“I started training for the New York Marathon the first week of July, so it’s been a four-month process,” Perry said. “For the half-marathons, I only trained up to 10 miles. But for this race, I trained up to 20.” 

Perry headed to the Big Apple on Friday, Nov. 3, and at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5, she began the marathon.

“The race itself was such a cathartic experience,” Perry said. “Multiple times I found myself on the brink of tears. I thought to myself, I can’t believe I’m here. I can’t believe this is happening.”

Perry was accompanied by parents, Janet and Chris Perry, along with her senior roommate, Brooke Johnson and senior Neeley Fellows friend, Kayla Mullin, who also came to cheer her on.

“We started her training together in the middle of June, so getting to hug her after she crossed the finish line was such a full circle moment,” Mullin said. 

During the race, Perry’s friends and parents split up, heading to different spots along the route so she could spot familiar faces cheering her on as often as possible.

Kayla Mullin, Lauren Grace Perry and Brooke Johnson after Perry’s completion of the New York City Marathon. Photo courtesy of Janet and Chris Perry.

“It was amazing getting to see Lauren accomplish this milestone,” Johnson said. “She is driven, determined and incredibly hardworking. That was obvious in NYC.”

Perry said one of her favorite parts of the experience was witnessing inspirational moments firsthand.

“I heard someone say in the weeks leading up to the race, ‘if you ever lose faith in humanity, go watch the end of the New York City Marathon,’” said Perry. “That is so true. Seeing people cross the finish line with such joy on their faces is something I will never forget.”

Inspirational stories that Perry recalls include several blind participants with guides, one of the marathon’s first women with Down syndrome, and an eighty-year-old woman running with trek poles.  

“Every runner should experience this at some point,” Perry said.

This marks just the beginning of Perry’s marathon journey. She has already applied for next year’s Chicago Marathon, and mentioned that if she doesn’t secure a spot, she will apply for the New York Marathon again.

“My biggest goal is to do the five marathons my dad did,” said Perry. “He ran New York, Chicago, Houston, Boston and the Twin Cities, so I would love to do those five over the course of my lifetime.” 

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