Alumna places in top 100 women in Boston Marathon
Purdue IE alumna Shari (Lund) Eberhard (BSIE 2016) finished 67th of all female runners in the 2018 Boston Marathon. This was her first time to run it, and she succeeded in her goal of finishing in the top 100. She ran the Chicago Marathon in both 2016 and 2017, and also many half-marathons, including the Indy Mini and the Monumental Half Marathon.
Currently at Eli Lilly, Eberhard works as an engineer in computational modeling and operation research, building simulation models of manufacturing lines, analyzing the results to help drive business decisions, and driving continuous improvement efforts.
During her four years at Purdue University, Eberhard was a Purdue athlete in both cross country and track & field.
"I began my running journey in 6th grade," she said. "The town I grew up in (Elmhurst, IL) embraces the running community, so it was natural that I at least tried it. Turns out, I was good at it. Initially, I kept running to stay fit for soccer but in high school I joined the cross country team and discovered I was better at running. I finally made the shift to running year-round by competing in track & field as well."
Eberhard didn't stop running after leaving Purdue. "After I graduated, I knew that I wanted to keep running but wanted to try something new," she said. "Growing up, I volunteered at the Chicago Marathon and my plan was to run the Chicago Marathon, finish fast, and qualify for the Boston Marathon. In the running world, there is a sense of accomplishment when you qualify for the Boston Marathon and I wanted to be part of that group."
Despite a cold, rainy and windy April 16 in Boston, Eberhard enjoyed the race more the further she ran.
"At the halfway point, I knew I was on pace to reach my goal (sub-3 hours) and all I needed was to keep the pace," she explained. "The problem was that the first half is easier and the second half has many hills. With two miles to go, I was ready to be done and I knew that I was close to my goal, so I used the crowd energy to bring me to the finish. My official finishing time was 2:59:09 - just shy of my PR (Personal Record) from the Chicago Marathon last year with a time of 2:55:00."
She described her finish: "I was so excited to be done and ecstatic that I reached my goal - and I was ready to get out of the rain!"
Eberhard credits her time at Purdue for teaching her how to efficiently manage her time as both a student and an athlete. "I believe my success with marathons thus far is credit to being able to run competitively in college while studying IE. Today, I work full-time and fit in time to get all of my miles in for training. School taught me to be efficient with my time!"
And Purdue IE taught Eberhard many skills she uses daily. "Many of the classes I took at Purdue taught me the essential skills to think like an engineer and develop solutions to complex problems," she said. "Purdue IE challenged me to build foundational skills such as simulation modeling, linear algebra, statistics, and coding - all that I use in my job today."
Writer: DeEtte Starr, firstname.lastname@example.org