Chicago Marathon Challenge: Andrew Knight

How long have you been a music therapist?

Since February 2005. (I’m proud to have Michael McGuire and LeeAnna Rasar as the signatures on my CBMT certificate…)

What made you choose music therapy?

Maybe because I like to be a little different sometimes, and because I like a challenge.

How long have you been a runner?

I ran my first race in 2005—the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon.

What made you decide to start running?

Finishing graduate school with extra lbs, and a wife that was looking at yoga books in the same aisle at a Barnes and Noble as running books.

What made you decide to run the Chicago Marathon?

Seeing that it was the same week as AMTA was the clincher, but it is one of the top marathons in the world that I could beat run with Michelle in.

What made you decide to turn it into a fundraising activity for AMTA?

I’ve done fundraising for all my previous marathons, so the connection with AMTA conference week seemed natural to do something for AMTA this time around and make sure conference-goers know why I will be eating so much at conference this year.

What do you do when you are not in training (i.e. what are you doing for a living)?

Asst. Prof at UND, and chase around three kids, which is actually kind of training in itself.

Does music play a role in your training? Explain why or why not.

You bet. I actually did a research study with music and exercise for a student-athlete MT major that parsed out the effect music has on exercise enjoyment.

If you use music in your runs, what do you listen to?

I also do start/finish line announcing and music programming for the area running club in Grand Forks, so I am always thinking about what songs might motivate certain groups of people. For me, it depends on the purpose of the run. Speed workouts will have a lot of rock, like AC/DC and OK Go, tempo runs will have Dave Matthews Band, Ben Harper, and old Zeppelin or Stones, and long runs will be podcasts, like Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, This American Life, or the Music Therapy Research Blog, because the hosts are very intelligent and good-looking.

What recommendations would you have for music therapists who wish to start running?

Join a group and make a playlist. Research shows the two factors most responsible for exercise adherence are social support and music. Then use your therapy skills to make goals and construct a treatment/workout plan to get there, and keep good data with a support site like

Do you have pre-race rituals or traditions that you think will allow you to run faster and stronger?

1. Always have pancakes the night before a race! 2. Plan on Cold Stone after the race. 3. Try not to think about #1 and #2 during the race. 4. Generate a list of motivators to use as a mental flipbook during the race. Here’s where fundraisers and working in a field with special needs populations is helpful. Your pain is only temporary—you can gut it out for awhile longer than you think when you think about how fortunate you are to be able to race.

What is your secret plan for out running and out fundraising the opposition (this is a good place for smack talk)?

There will be no secrets. The donations of us on Team MWR/Knight will continue to rise and relegate Team SWR/Kennemer to thinking “what could we have done different?” Answer: nothing.

How many days of conference do you plan on wearing your medal?

That’s like asking how many days will the Olympic flame burn.

How can music therapists help support you in your quest?

The battle lines have been drawn. You are with me, or against me. Go to and donate a little bit of each of your paychecks. Then sell a kidney and/or a guitar and give the proceeds. Then tell some friends to do the same. Then tweet/facebook it with pride. Then when you are walking around conference nursing your kidney removal scars, you can think “Well, I’m sure his hamstrings hurt more than this scar after a marathon.”


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