Karter Tow '24

Sprinting to the future

Karter Tow runs the Boston Marathon

Karter Tow ’24
Major: Pre-dietetics

Karter TowAs early as the fourth grade, Karter Tow shown interest in running.

“My dad and older brother used to run a Thanksgiving Day turkey trot, and I wanted to follow in their footsteps,” said Tow. “I started preparing with my dad, and I fell in love with the process of training for a race. I was hooked ever since that day.”

That passion for running continued through high school and into college, where he ran cross country and took part in his first marathon in 2022. However, his true goal was to complete the Boston Marathon.

He accepted the challenge this year to wrap up his undergraduate studies at Bluffton while taking on the world’s oldest annual marathon. “Once my senior year got here, I felt like it was now or never,” Tow explained. “I felt like it was the perfect time in my life.”

An International Experience

Tow’s time during the Columbus Marathon in 2022 qualified him for the 128th Boston Marathon. His time of 2:36:20 secured a spot in the sub-elite wave of runners, a category in wave one, corral one of the entire marathon behind the professional and sponsored runners.

On the day of the race, Tow and nearly 30,000 participants were driven 26 miles to Hopkinton, Mass., to the Athletes’ Village where the race began. “I think the most interesting thing was when I got into my starting corral there were so many international athletes that you couldn’t really go and tell everyone good luck before the race because we didn’t speak the same language,” Tow noted.

He had two major goals for the competition: “The most important part for me was ‘am I having fun with it’,” he stated. “The race went well the first half. The second half, due to the heat, the hills and the difficulty of the course made it a tough day, but my goal overall was just to finish.”

Crossing the Finish Line

Finishing the Boston Marathon with a time of 2:54:50, Tow trained both physically and mentally to complete the race. He ran approximately 90 miles each week in preparation, while balancing his final year of undergraduate studies. Majoring in pre-dietetics, Tow will continue his education at Bluffton in the fall of 2024, pursuing a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics. His interest in becoming a sports dietitian helped him better understand the nutritional needs to be successful before, during and after the marathon.

“Focusing on what you’re putting in your body definitely plays a huge part in the recovery,” Tow said. “Making sure you have enough fuel in your workouts, and especially as a student making sure you put your focus on being a student first and then tailoring your day around the other goals.”

Tow believes he’ll return to the historic Boston Marathon someday; however, he has his sights set on completing an entire circuit of international races.

“I think my long-term goal is to run the six major marathons, which includes Chicago, New York, Berlin, [Tokyo, London and Boston],” said Tow.