Danica Patrick, the most successful woman professional race car driver, is crossing the No. 1 item off her bucket list Monday by running the Boston Marathon, her first marathon.
After a 14-year racing career that spanned all levels of NASCAR and IndyCar, the 39-year-old retired as a driver in 2018. Since then, she’s picked up a new passion: running.
Patrick decided to sign up for one marathon with her sister, Brooke Selman, and their friend, Erin Buntin. They began training for the Boston Marathon back in May. They live in three different cities, so much of their training has been solo during the pandemic.
Patrick will compete in the Boston Marathon on Monday, Oct. 11 along with 20,000 other participants.
How did Danica Patrick qualify for the Boston Marathon?
Patrick, Selman and Buntin are able to compete in the Boston Marathon without completing a qualifying event because they are running for the Light Foundation charity.
@DanicaPatrick is joining our Team Speed of Light for the 2021 Boston Marathon as our Honorary Team Captain! Along with our other amazing TSOL runners, Danica has started her training and fundraising journey and we can’t wait to see the whole team represent the Light Foundation! pic.twitter.com/LtGLZ9ya7M
— Light Foundation (@LightFoundation) June 21, 2021
The Light Foundation was founded by former Patriots player Matt Light and his wife Susie. Their website shares the organization’s goal is “to help young people develop the skills, values, and mindset they need to create a meaningful and productive future.”
How Danica Patrick trained for the Boston Marathon
Although Patrick has yet to run the 26.2 miles that make up a marathon, she has been posting on social media outlining her training.
Patrick noticed quickly how much more pressure running puts on one’s body in comparison to driving. She had to adjust to working on her mental game, she expressed to For The Win. She also talked highly of electrolytes and how she’s planned to use them on race day.
“OK, I know every mile, I’m going to take a big drink of my electrolytes. That’s gonna feel really good. And so you just start making mini goals,” Patrick said. “But the body is really giving you the big middle finger, saying, ‘This hurts. This is hard. I’m dehydrated.'”
The longest route the three women have ran so far is 20 miles, which they ran together in Napa, California. They chose to wear the same attire and gear that they will be wearing on Monday’s race in order to adjust to the feeling of their shoes and clothes.
Otherwise, the last long run Patrick completed was 16 miles at the end of September.
What is Danica Patrick’s running pace?
When Patrick originally started training, her miles tended to be around eight minutes and 15 seconds long. At the time, she expected to get to an 8:40-minute pace at the marathon. However, Patrick decided that a nine-minute mile would be a more attainable goal. She expects to have around a four-hour marathon, which would equate to nine-minute miles.
“I’m not going to set some world record. I’m not going to go win the race; that’s not going to happen,” Patrick said, via For The Win. “And so the point is that it’s something that I wanted to do.”
To put Patrick’s pace in perspective, last year’s women’s winner Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia finished the race at 2:23:31.