A lot can happen when two women put their strength and spirit to work for a good cause.

That’s what happened Monday morning when Molly Costin and Julia Snyder, of Wadena, finished the first fall Boston Marathon together, while honoring another young woman.

While the two did not qualify for the event with a race event, they applied for spots and qualified to run under a charity bib, which raises money for one of the people killed in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, Krystle Campbell.

Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old Medford, Massachusetts, native, was one of three people killed in the April 15, 2013, bombings near the Boston Marathon finish line. The Krystle Campbell Memorial Fund at The Boston Foundation will be used to make gifts in honor and remembrance of Krystle to charitable causes important to Krystle and her family.

Costin and Snyder both had a goal of raising $3,500. They both surpassed those goals with the help and overwhelming support of the surrounding communities.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Snyder, as many know, has a long history of running in the area and is owner operator of Signs and Designs in Wadena. She ran in high school and in her later 20s, after having kids, she began running competitively in races in the area thanks to other persuasive women runners. This was her second marathon.

“They kind of just peer pressure you into more races,” Snyder said of the friendly exercise.

Over time, as she developed, Snyder has become persuasive in getting others to join her in running and racing. So when she indicated to Costin if she would ever consider running the Boston Marathon, Costin, not being one to turn down a challenge, confirmed she would. When Snyder sent her paperwork to apply for it, things got very real. When they were accepted it was go-time to fundraise and continue on with a 20-week marathon training regiment. They put on around 600 miles on their way to train for this moment.

Snyder found out about the charity bib opportunity through a friend connected to Krystle. The charity gives out several bibs each year and this year, six runners are taking part in this particular foundation.

Snyder and Costin were physically prepared for the race as best as they could, though there were many unknowns on the ground in Boston. Costin called the day "an amazing experience."

"You don't really train for it to be a comfortable distance. You train to live through it, and I did," Costin said in an email. "Since it was my first ever marathon, I tried not to focus on the time - just to soak it all in. What a feeling, crossing that finish line. People were screaming YOU DID IT, YOU DID IT!!! for blocks beforehand. I broke down, it was so emotional to reach the goal — 26.2, and I'll never forget it. I'm so thankful to the Krystle Campbell Foundation, my amazing family who supported me in Boston, my friends and family who were sending me encouragement throughout the day, and my friend Julia who started it all with a question. 'Would you ever run the Boston Marathon in person?' It appears we would, Julia."

While it’s been work and the run was "excruciating," she said it was a mental drain too.

"It's the hardest thing I've ever done mentally.," Costin said in a Facebook post following the event. "It was excruciating, and exhilarating, empowering, emptying."

As a way to keep her head in the game, Costin prayed for people every mile of the race. Her arms had messages of encouragement on them from her family. She wanted to treat the race as the victory lap after months of training.

This was Costin’s first full marathon. As a varsity track coach for New York Mills, she said she wanted to show her athletes what you could do with a little hard work.

“I wanted to train hard enough to be worthy of the honor of doing it,” Costin said. “The distance is hard. You know, 26 miles is hard. I haven’t been running for that long. So it’s a struggle for me, but for Boston — that’s an amazing opportunity.”

The women took their families on the adventure and spent some time enjoying the city of Boston following the race.

The big race

According to the Boston Marathon website, a field of 20,000 athletes were expected to participate in the 125th running of the Boston Marathon, covering 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston. It’s the world’s oldest annually run marathon. With those running under a charity bib, the actual number of runners is significantly more. The number of entrants will be down from typical years due to restrictions and some people choosing to not take part due to COVID.