Castle Heights loves its favorite runner
Most marathon runners can only dream of a trip to run in one of the most prestigious races in the country, the Boston Marathon. Marin Broadbear was able to earn a spot in her first try. She earned her BQ (Boston Qualifier) at the Little Grand Canyon Marathon last year after being challenged to do so by her sister.
Her sister, who lives out of the area, had already attained her BQ and was hoping Broadbear would be able to join her in Boston this April. Broadbear had run several half marathons (13.1 miles) but never a full 26.2. But she was up to the task and ran fast enough to earn a qualifying spot in her first attempt.
Then the hard work began. Broadbear had to train all winter. It was a blessing that it remained a fairly mild winter with little snow to have to negotiate, but running in the cold was still mandatory.
One of the draws of the Boston Marathon is that it is normally a cool weather race. But not this year. As the race drew near, it was apparent that there would be record heat for this year's event. Race organizers were offering deferrals to those who felt it was too hot to run.
For out of the area people, that was not much of an option. In addition to the $150 entry fee, airline tickets and hotel reservations had been in place for a while. Supporters like Dr Broadwater, Richard Hackwell, Frank Peczuh, Tony Basso, her students and family that had helped Broadbear realize her dream.
So Broadbear didn't even give the deferral offer a single thought. Her sister might have benefited from the wait. The irony is that despite the fact it was the challenge from her sister that got her in position to run the race, it looked like she might be running it alone as her sister was struggling to rehab a hamstring injury and was not able to train enough to prepare.
Broadbear's class at Castle Heights Elementary had been excited ever since learning that their teacher would be running in Boston. It led to many lessons in math, geography and physical education. The entire class loves to race their teacher each Friday afternoon as they do laps around the playground.
On April 16 Broadbear found herself in Hopkinton, Mass. waiting in a corral with everyone who would start in the second wave of the race. Her sister decided to give it a try and was by her side. Her class was back in Price tracking her on the web.
She said she was amazed at how rural the beginning of the race was. They did not start in Boston, but had to run back to the city for the finish. Despite being herded for six minutes with hundreds of others to get to the start, the crowd settled into a comfortable run pace quickly.
Her sister tried to keep with her, but at mile four said she didn't think she could continue. Broadbear was now in it alone. But she actually had plenty of company and there was never a spot along the course there wasn't crowds there to cheer them on. Many of the spectators offered bananas, oranges and candy. Some squirted the runners with hoses to help cool them off in the unprecedented heat.
Broadbear was nervous about running in the heat because she had been doing most of her training in the winter and cool of the morning. She adjusted by forcing herself to drink at every water station and to sip Gatorade most of the race. She also added some distance as she found any opportunity to take advantage of the hoses and cooling stations all along the route so she wove back and forth all along the course.
Her class had sent a poster to encourage her to a spectator group that helps cheer on those who are racing without family or friends in Boston. Broadbear saw them holding the poster at mile 19 and took a minute to pose for pictures for her class. Broadbear said it was that energy that was everywhere along the course that helped keep her going.
When she crossed the finish line, she began to scan the crowd for her sister. Instead of seeing her, she got a text that her sister was still racing and was closing in on mile 20. Despite the injury she finished the race and completed the mission both had set out to do.
Will she do it again?
Right now she is leaning to saying no, but she admits after a month or two off she may change her mind. The final month of preparing left her burnt out and dreading her long 20 mile training runs.
She did not place, even in her age group. She is amazed at the many times she is asked that question. With close to 9,000 runners and many with much faster qualifying times, she did not have any expectations of placing. So why do it? Because it was something for her and her sister to accomplish together. For her, doing that made her a winner.