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Prep Rally

Remarkable Virginia high school senior is Boston Marathon's youngest female runner

Ben Rohrbach
Prep Rally

Perhaps after hearing this young lady's story, Harvard will move her from the wait list to accepted status.

As the 118th Boston Marathon begins Monday, Fairfax (Va.) W.T. Woodson High senior Emily Cox is the youngest female competitor in the field of 36,000, according to a fantastic Washington Post feature.

Marathons run in Cox's blood. Her grandfather John Jr., a World War II veteran, got the family running. Literally. They've reportedly competed in 101 Marine Corps Marathons since 1986. According to The Washington Post, Emily ran her first marathon to honor her grandfather's death in August 2011 — finishing in 4:35.08 despite never training — and this year's 26.2 miles will have similar significance.

"I'll have something to run for this year, more than me just trying to finish a marathon,” she told the paper. "Ultimately I know I’ve trained well. I have to trust my training and have fun. I want to have a smart pace, go out and just enjoy it, enjoy the experience, enjoy Boston and be part of something bigger than myself."

Cox qualified for the first Boston Marathon since the bombings in 2013 with a time of 3:31.51 at last year's Marine Corps Marathon, according to The Washington Post. She turned the minimum age of 18 on March 30, making her the youngest female to take to the starting line in Hopkinton, Mass.

All of this despite running just one season for Woodson. Her endurance comes from years of tennis competion before dropping the sport to focus on academics as a high school freshman, the paper said. Instead, she has reportedly run nine miles a day since her sophomore year, waking up daily at 3:45 a.m.

Meanwhile, many of her peers would be sleeping seven hours later if they had their druthers. It seems there's a reason she's been accepted to Brown University, the University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary. Harvard and Columbia reportedly wait-listed her. Considering she's running in the Crimson's backyard on Monday, perhaps they'll finally recognize this trailblazing teen.

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