Ali on the Run Show Episode 247: Mary Kate Shea, John Hancock Senior Director of Endurance Marketing & 23-Time Boston Marathon Finisher

Date: June 10, 2020 at 5:48 pm- by Ali- Comment(s): 0

“There is nothing we will not do for this team.”

Mary Kate Shea — or “MK,” as she’s known to the fastest marathoners in the world — is the senior director of endurance marketing for John Hancock, the title sponsor of the Boston Marathon. Every year, it’s Mary Kate’s job to woo, recruit, and get the best distance runners to come run the historic Boston Marathon. On this episode — which we recorded at the beginning of May, before the 2020 race had been officially canceled — Mary Kate talks about how, exactly, she puts together the 50-person pro field every year. She talks about the first thing she said to Desiree Linden after Des won the 2018 race, explains what she says is the most stressful part of her job and her entire year, and shares lots of stories about everyone’s favorite elites. But don’t think Mary Kate is just watching this race from the media center: She says the fastest way from Hopkinton back to Boston is by foot, which is why, after she checks the elites in and gets them on their way, she joins the second wave of runners and runs the marathon herself. MK is a 23-time Boston Marathon finisher, she’s run ultramarathons including 100-milers, and she’s a mom of four. Superwoman, indeed.

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What you’ll get on this episode:

  • What Marathon Monday is like every year for Mary Kate (8:00)
  • MK’s “Day in the Life” on Marathon Monday (15:40)
  • What makes Marathon Monday a success? (31:10)
  • How the recruiting process works (37:00)
  • Which runners are on MK’s “Boston wish list?” (44:40)
  • What it means to be a “technical expert” at major marathons (49:55)
  • How MK got her job (51:40)

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