2006 Bradley Award: Bridget Montgomery

Bridget Montgomery named 2006 Bradley Award Winner

Bridget Montgomery

The Universal Sole Track Club of Chicago picked Bridget Montgomery to receive the 2006 Margaret L. Bradley Award for transportation expenses from Chicago to Boston to race in this year’s Boston Marathon. Montgomery ran a 3:04:33 marathon in Chicago in 2002. She was a teammate of Margaret Bradley’s on the Universal Sole team. The Greater Boston Track Club and Universal Sole Track Club jointly established the Margaret Bradley award in honor of Margaret. The intent of the award is to send one runner annually from GBTC to compete in the Chicago marathon and to bring one runner annually from Universal Sole to compete in the Boston Marathon. The two clubs intend for the award to continue in perpetuity for the purpose of recognizing and aiding aspiring, young, female marathoners who are of similar ability to that of Bradley.

Montgomery, born Sullivan, began running at the age of 7 through a local summer track program. She originally high jumped and raced the mile, but converted to racing cross-country and 3200 meters during her freshman year of high school, at Joliet Township High School, in Illinois.

She competed for the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois, her freshman year in college but then transferred to Boston College. She ran her first marathon during her senior year in college: a 3:13 at the Sunburst in South Bend, Indiana.

Montgomery graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Boston College in 2002. She joined the Greater Boston Track Club but moved to Chicago before Margaret Bradley joined GBTC. But when Bradley left Boston for medical school in Chicago, GBTC coach Tom Derderian urged her to find Bridget Montgomery for a training partner. Montgomery is currently pursuing her masters in English and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago, where she also works in the writing center and occasionally teaches freshman composition. Along with her graduate work, she is working as an editor and writer at a new magazine that recently launched in the city of Chicago: For Her Information Chicago.

Montgomery says, “I could speak forever about Margaret. We always had a special bond, since we both ran for GBTC and Universal Sole. She had an infectious smile and a contagious energy and thirst for life. She was a fierce competitor and a loyal friend; she was the kind of person that people want to be in life. I know my teammates at Universal Sole were magnetically attracted to her deep love for the sport and her ability to wow all of us by pursuing her medical studies while running 90 to 100 miles a week. The summer before she passed, we had spent the winter months training for Boston – I was too injured to run – but she shined on that day, finishing in 3:04 on a sun drenched and brutally hot day. We shared an unspoken rhythm that runners often do when they run down a snow-covered road in the dead months of winter. I miss her optimism, her spirit, her love for our sport, her friendship, her intellectual curiosity, her determination . . . Margaret taught me so much about running, but even more important than that, she taught me about friendship and compassion.”  Margaret L. Bradley was a member of GBTC who died in the Grand Canyon on July 10, 2004, at the age of 24. Margaret ran the 2003 Chicago marathon in 2:58:52 and led the GBTC women’s team to victory in the 2004 Boston Marathon with a time of 3:04:54, finishing as 31st woman. Margaret lived in Chicago in 2003 and 2004, and while living there she competed with the Universal Sole track club.

Katie Wales of Universal Sole received the first award and ran the 2005 Boston Marathon under similarly hot conditions to those in which Margaret ran in the previous year. Amazingly, she ran exactly the same time, 3:04:54, as Margaret had run. Katie Famous of GBTC received the reciprocal award to run the 2005 Chicago Marathon, where she debuted in 3:10:06.

GBTC is trying to build an endowment that will enable this award to be given in perpetuity. You can make a tax-deductible donation to the endowment using the button below. For more information or to make a donation, please contact the chair of the Margaret Bradley award committee at www.gbtc.org.