Anna Simmons: A love for running that spans beyond America


Credit: Courtesy of Anna Simmons

Anna Simmons has been running since she was seven years old. From Greece to London, running has been an instrumental part of her life.

From triathlons to half marathons, and all the way to full marathons in London, Wayland resident Anna Simmons has had a passion for running since she was seven years old. Not wanting to give up on her running career, Simmons’s passion for running has been present for as long as she can remember.

Simmons has been running for 41 years. Her love for running originated during her childhood in Greece when her grandfather ran for the National Marathon Team of Greece.

“When I was a little kid, sometimes on the weekends, we would visit my grandparents’ house in Voula, Athens,” Simmons said. “My grandfather was always active, even at an old age, and I was the only grandkid that actually wanted to go running with him in the mountains. That’s where [my passion for running] really started.”

Simmons knew that running would always be a part of her life because of the connection it gave her to her grandfather. However, she realized her true love for running after participating in a race at school.

“I had already been running with my grandfather in the mountains, but in fifth grade, [there was a race when] we had to run around the school building a certain amount of times and [I won],” Simmons said. “That was the only race that I came in first place, and that when I knew I really liked running.”

Simmons sets goals for herself as motivation to continue running. Her goal to stay active is achieved by often signing up for new races or challenges so that she always has something to look forward to. Although running marathons can sometimes feel impossible, Simmons feels that setting goals can help make a difficult plan seem more attainable.

“The only reason I love running is because I set targets for myself,” Simmons said. “Maybe these targets will take place six months or a year from now, and when I see it I’ll say to myself, ‘that sounds really cool, I should do that.’”

In 2013, Simmons decided to try out triathlons. While training for these events, she was busy every day and struggled to balance spending time with family in the midst of preparing for triathlons. After three years of training, Simmons realized this activity was not the right fit for her, and decided to work on training for half and full marathons instead.

“When I was doing triathlons, all I did was swimming classes with a coach at Walden, biking for hours outside and running,” Simmons said. “I got injured during the second half of Iron Man, and I had to completely stop training for the race. The only thing I missed while recovering was running.”

Simmons has run eight marathons over the course of her running career, and she recently traveled to London, United Kingdom to run in the 2023 TCS London Marathon. The start of the race was about 25 miles away from the center of London, and the finish line was located near Buckingham Palace.

Simmons was one of 48,000 runners who competed in this race. She arrived at the start line of the race at 9 a.m., but did not start running until 11 a.m.. Simmons finished the marathon in just over five hours.

“The start was cold, rainy and miserable,” Simmons said. “All of the runners were just waiting for our time to be called. ”

For Simmons, the most difficult part of the London Marathon was the last eight miles of the race. After running 18 miles through the streets of London, she was feeling exhausted and discouraged. However, the groups of supporters who cheered on the runners from the sidelines helped keep Simmons’s spirits high throughout the race.

“One of the highlights of the race was that there were drum circles of around 100 people banging on drums [to cheer on runners],” Simmons said.

Although Simmons’s body wanted to stop running near the end of the race, her mind and the love of the crowd encouraged her to keep pushing. She kept telling herself that her body and mind were capable of finishing the race, and with this mentality, she pushed through and crossed the finish line.

“The energy in London was very supportive,” Simmons said. “I think that running your first marathon in London is the best choice, because it is almost like the crowd carries you through those last few miles when you’re ready to quit.”