Josh Handler '19 and Andrew Allen '19 tackle a new challenge: The Boston Marathon

Andrew Allen '19 and Josh Handler '19 go for a training run
Andrew Allen '19 and Josh Handler '19 go for a training run

At the end of their stellar soccer careers for the Judges, seniors Josh Handler and Andrew Allen asked themselves, "What's next?"

Having achieved a conference title and two trips to the NCAA Division III Final Four, what could they do to put a bow on their illustrious careers?

How does running the Boston Marathon this spring sound?

"We've achieved a lot here at Brandeis," Handler said. "This is just another opportunity to extend our athletic accomplishments."

The discussion of capping their Brandeis careers by running the most prestigious of American marathons started as far back as their sophomore year. It was a half-joke back then, but last December, Allen broached the subject with Handler again, looking for a way to try to stay in shape now that captains' practices were a thing of the past.

Allen and Handler were determined to make into the field, so they started training, even though they had yet to secure bibs. They searched for non-profits for whom they could raise money, and finally, Tufts Medical Center came through with two spots near the end of 2018.

The partnership is especially meaningful for Allen. His sister, Elizabeth, herself a 2014 Brandeis grad, was treated for a brain tumor at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center fifteen years ago.

Handler also experienced cancer in his family, with three of his four grandparents suffering from the deadly disease. He also witnessed his father undergo brain surgery during his freshman year of high school.

"We know the importance of family-oriented health care," said Allen.

"I appreciate the help and care and support that the people at the hospital gave us," Handler recalled. "This is a great opportunity to give back to a great cause like that."

The pair have put together a bunch of different fund-raising efforts to come up with their share to benefit Tufts Medical Center. It started with a social media push when they first earned their bibs, especially to connect with Brandeis Men's Soccer alumni.

"That's been one of the great things about being part of this University and this team," Allen said. "The alumni are always willing to help out current students, whether it's been job networking or donating to a good cause."

They've also partnered with local restaurants to raise money, including a fundraiser with the Chipotle in Waltham next Tuesday, March 19th, in which Chipotle will donate a portion of every sale between 5 and 9 p.m.

As for training for the race itself, the winter weather and differing class and work schedules that don't quite match up have made it hard for the duo to run together, but they've done the best they can. Allen decided on a pace for them to work on over winter break that Handler complained he couldn't keep up with. Flash forward to their return to campus, and all of a sudden, Handler is the front-runner.

"I said, 'What are you doing? You're going way too fast!" Allen said. "Josh said, 'What do you mean? This is the pace I was running at home.' So he didn't even know how fast he was running!"

The two have also consulted with Allen's brother, who ran the race for the past couple of years, as well as Brandeis Athletics' Fitness Coordinator resident marathon guru, Kat Page.

"We've talked to as many people as we can, though," Handler said. "Trying to be like a sponge and absorb as much as we can about it.

"Ultimately, it's all about knowing your body. Being smart with your pacing and how often you are running."


To donate to Andrew and Josh's efforts, visit

Or stop by the Waltham Chipotle on Tuesday, March 19th, between 5 and 9 p.m. Don't forget to mention Josh and Andrew by name!