I’m sitting at my kitchen counter eating jelly beans and thinking about Boston.
On my timeline today on Facebook, a photo popped up from 2013 – it’s me and my best friend Laurie, in the Philadelphia airport. I had paid extra on my flight home from Boston for a stupidly long layover so that Laurie could bring her daughter to the airport, and we could all just hang out for a few hours. It was a sweet and needed ending to a weekend of weirdness – the amazingness of the run itself and the shock of the events after.
It’s one memory of the Boston Marathon for me.
There are many others – nonstop texting with Kristen Johnston every marathon Monday as we track our friends and the elites. Emailing with Owen Hotvet – first from the newspaper, where we both worked, and now on our phones. Sitting at my old desk, my television turned for one day from CNN to the race – telling coworkers the truth: It’s my Super Bowl. My one sporting event I care about.
My new coworker Paul Heinert quizzed me on all the athletes at Legends this year, and I think we were both surprised when I got about 30 percent of them right. It’s just not my thing, and it never has been. I don’t even know that much about professional runners – so when I watch the race, my adoration is fairly limited. I love our ladies – loved Deena and Joan and Shalane and Kara and Desi, come on, Desi. I don’t follow much beyond Boston, but on marathon Monday, they’re who I think about.
That and the many men and women who have worked to qualify, who are standing at their first or 10th Boston Marathon, for the charity runners who raised money for something they believe in, for all the locals who are running the historic race through their own town.
It’s awesome. It was awesome to do it, and it’s awesome to watch others do it. Here are a few links to follow along, and then after that meet two more local runners who are out there today.
How to follow along:
On Twitter: @BostonMarathon
Watch: Live coverage o NBC Sports Network from 7:30 a.m. to noon. Primetime replay at 7 p.m. on Universal HD. Find your local channel here.
Stalking: Track your athlete here.
Need more? Wondering who from South Dakota – or anywhere – is running? This is a searchable database of all registered runners.
Who are the favorites?
Meet the runner: Shannon Wezensky Newman
Family: Husband, Steve, one pitbull
To qualify: Needed a 3:35
Where: Ran a 3:09 at the Marine Corps Marathon in 2015, then a 3:14 in Boston in 2016.
Previous Boston runs: 1
Total marathons: Chicago, Mickelson, Marine Corps, Boston, San Francisco
On qualifying: I did not see it coming for Boston. Then I won my second marathon I ever ran. I didn’t know … and then I ran the Marine Corps Marathon.
On why she runs: It was a stress reliever. Working as an engineer you just need something to take your mind off things or problem solve and think about projects. And think about how you are going to tackle your day. I started just running in the early mornings, and then it turned into, hey, run this race for breast cancer, and there were so many people. … Then I was like, well, let’s try Mickelson Trail. I had to see if I could do it first. I didn’t want an epic fail in front of everybody. Then when I won it, that gave me the confidence to go to Boston.
On training: I still drive back to Freeman to train on weekends. I like the peacefulness. I completely relax out there. All gravel. It’s so relaxing to me.
On the Boston Marathon: I definitely learned don’t fall for the first half. It’s downhill. Have a lot of patience and pace and trust your training. Heartbreak Hill looks like a bunny hill but it feels like a mountain after 20 miles.
On Boston itself: I absolutely loved it. I loved going back east. The people were great. It’s such a welcoming community with all the support around the Boston marathon and the people supporting it. The communities really rallied around the marathon.
On the love of running: I’m definitely glad that I got into marathon running. It’s been a therapy tool for me. It keeps me calm. I enjoy the quiet time out on the roads.
Meet the runner: Ed Thomas
Family: Wife, 3 kids, 6 grandkids
How many previous marathons: 22 (and a mountain of ultras)
First marathon: Twin Cities Marathon
First time qualifying: Fargo Marathon in 2011
Number of qualifying times: Six
On getting started: Ed began running in 2010 as a way to support his son Nick, who had entered a treatment center for opioid addiction.
Number of Boston Marathons: This is Ed’s 5th Boston. He missed 2015 because of an injury. This year, he used a 3:28 from Okoboji to qualify. “I’m old,” Ed says. “My qualifying time isn’t all that difficult.”
Loves about Boston: The camaraderie. I have friends in the Boston area and many friends who will be running. That’s truly the fun of running – the people you meet along the way.
On training: Training has been good … not as good as I would like, but good. (Note: Ed recently had his second attempt at the Barkley Marathons and also ran 50 miles at Zumbro to pace a 100-miler.)
Good luck, runners!
Jacqueline Palfy is a longtime runner, reader and writer, marathoner, mom and board member of the nonprofit Sioux Falls Area Running Club. Her contributions to the 605 Running Co. blog will appear each Tuesday. You can follow her on Twitter @runnerJPK or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Story ideas are encouraged.
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