When Fritz first attended McMurry, she aspired to become an art teacher parallel to her high school art teacher. In the pursuit of an art education major, however, she experienced challenges that required her to take a brief hiatus from school. After some time, she persevered and returned to campus in 2014.
Fritz did not become a “runner” until she impulsively registered for a half marathon. While training for that race, she found herself talking to coach David Chandler ’00, McMurry Cross-Country coach from 2003-2015, about joining the cross-country team and starting to run competitively. She realized that competitive running was for her and ran cross-country and track for three seasons until she graduated in 2017.
While participating in cross-country and track, Fritz developed important skills like time management, goal setting, and teamwork. Upon graduating, she had the opportunity to work with various coaches as an assistant coach. Rexi Parcells, current cross-country coach at McMurry, helped fuel Fritz’s passion and drive for excellence, and she shaped her approach to coaching the sport today.
While she hadn’t had time to train for and run a full 26.2-mile race because of her school and athletics commitments, Fritz was passionate about running half-marathons (13.1-miles). However, the Boston Marathon loomed large in her mind because of its rich history and the fact that you must run a qualifying time to even enter, igniting Frtiz’s competitive spirit.
Immediately after graduating, in June 2017 Fritz signed up for her first full marathon, hoping to qualify. But unfortunately, she did not qualify the first year she tried; however, she pressed on and signed up for the same race the following year but trained smarter. In 2018, she hit her qualifying time and competed in her first Boston Marathon in 2019.
Fritz’s goal grew. Competing in just one Boston Marathon was no easy feat, but she wanted more. Fritz aspired to complete five in five years…and she did it! This year marked Fritz’s fifth (and final “for now”) Boston Marathon! A huge part of her journey boils down to a quick conversation in 2014 during Coach Chandler’s power-walking lab when he noticed the 5k t-shirt Fritz was wearing and asked, “Are you a runner?”
For anyone interested in running, whether it be a 5k, 50k, or the Boston Marathon, Fritz recommends finding a community of runners who share your passion. “Set small, achievable goals along the way, and keep your ultimate end goal in mind,”Fritz encouraged. “It is important to be patient and kind to yourself, especially on days when training feels difficult. With dedication and perseverance, you can accomplish incredible things.”
“I can say without a doubt that the McMurry community is one of the things that makes the university so special, and I am grateful for all of the professors, mentors, and friends who have helped me along the way.” says Fritz about Kathie Walker-Millar and Jennifer Nichols in the art department, the cross country and track teams, and David Chandler ’00. “They were amazing mentors both during my time as a student and even after, providing guidance and support no matter what my goals were.”