BOSTON, MA - She finished the race.

She reached her fundraising goal.

And yet, neither of those notable accomplishments ranks as the thing that Basking Ridge resident Chrissy Weyrauch will remember the most about running in her first Boston Marathon last week.

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"I had so many friends tracking it all day. It was the coolest experience I have ever had," said Weyrauch, a junior at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.

Weyrauch, 20, was running the marathon in support of Impact Melanoma, an organization dedicated to researching a cure for melanoma, the skin cancer that claimed the life of her grandfather, Robert Pankuck, nearly 10 years ago.

She exceeded her goal of $8,000 raised for Impact Melanoma and ran the race in 3 hours and 51 minutes.

"In order to run the race, I had to make a commitment to Impact Melanoma," Weyrauch said. "I pledged that I would raise $8,000. It was so sweet, everyone that donated. I was fortunate enough to hit the goal."

An accomplished athlete who was an All-State soccer player, winning two Group 4 championships at Ridge High School, and a basketball player who nearly eclipsed 1,000 career points at Ridge, Weyrauch nonetheless had never run a marathon before.

"I had absolutely no goal in terms of my time in the race," she said. "I had no idea how I would run it. I just wanted to finish it. I thought, if I finish it, that will be awesome. As the race was going along, my friends started to text me, 'You can do it in under four (hours). I didn't wear a pacer or anything. My roommate was texting me my mile times."

Weyrauch had to adjust, too, for changing weather during the morning and early afternoon.

"The weather was bizarre," she said. "I woke up, the forecast said rain all day, so I wore thermal leggings. But the sun came out, and by Mile 8, I was dying of heat. It was so hot, when the sun came out, people started ripping off their layers. Then, for last mile and half it started to pour. That was fun, crossing the finish line in the rain."

Weyrauch ran part of the race with her former Ridge High soccer teammate Erin Convery, who attends Boston College. Her biggest challenge came about 17 miles into the race.

"I hit a wall between miles 17 and 20, where there are a lot of hills," Weyrauch said. "I was so tired by then. Erin was saying 'You got it, you got it,' and I was like 'I don't have it'. There are four miles of rolling hills. It gets demoralizing around that point. Then there's another one, Heartbreak Hill (at Mile 20). After that, it's more smooth sailing, and the energy when you get past Boston College is huge. The streets are packed, everyone is cheering. You are getting cheered on by strangers, and it's amazing how nice everyone is. I've never felt so much pure support."

That support included her family. Chrissy's parents, Chris and Laurie, and her sister,  Alex, made the trip to Boston for the marathon and were on the streets near the finish line to cheer her home.

"The entire time I ran the marathon, I was trying to take it all in and remember it all," she said. "When you run it, you do it with the mentality of taking in every moment. Once I saw my parents on Boylston Street near the finish line, I wanted to cry. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life."

 

(Read more about Chrissy's run for Impact Melanoma here.)