Armed with qualifying times from B.C. races, two of Vanderhoof’s competitive runners participated in the Boston Marathon for the first time this spring.
On April 18, Brian and Wanda Nemethy from Vanderhoof were two among 30,000 from nearly 100 countries that ran through the streets of Boston for the city’s 120th annual 42-kilometre race — the world’s oldest annual marathon.
Nemethy qualified by completing the Vancouver Marathon last season in three hours and four minutes, while Wanda finished the Victoria Marathon in three hours and 22 minutes.
At first, Boston was just in the back of her mind when she ran the Victoria event after turning 50 in the fall of 2014 — it’s been many years since her last marathon, Wanda explained.
It turned out to be her personal best time, as well as within the 2016 Boston event’s qualifying threshold.
“Now is the time to do it, ‘cause I don’t know when I’ll be able to do it again,” she said.
Nemethy decided to join as well, and missed Vanderhoof’s Wild Goose Chase last year to compete in the Vancouver Marathon for a qualifying time.
“After Wanda thought she’d want to go do it, I would go there too, but I wouldn’t go there to watch,” Nemethy said. “I go there to run.”
Though the couple is not new to preparing for and running marathons — logging up to 80 weekly kilometres for a 16-week training program this winter — the race-day experience in Boston differed in several ways from start to finish.
Three hours before their start times, participants were transported by bus from downtown Boston to the start line in rural New England town Hopkinson, where they waited for their turn.
“They have two massive tents bigger than the NVSS gym, hundreds of porta potties, lots of food, and thousands of people everywhere…lying down, sleeping, sitting and chatting, and you have to wait there,” Wanda recounted.
Lack of warm-up was thus an issue, in addition to temperature — Boston’s average temperature that day was 20 degrees and the Nemethys’ start times were at about 10 a.m., several hours closer to noon than other marathons in their experience.
“We weren’t used to the heat,” she said. “I remember feeling very warm, and we haven’t even started walking.”
Nemethy and Wanda completed the race in three hours and 20 minutes, and three hours and 42 minutes, respectively. They aimed to finish the race in three hours, and three hours and a half.
42 kilometres of continuous cheering
During the run, participants were cheered on by spectators from start to finish, continuously for the entire 42 kilometres.
“The amazing thing was all those people, in the race but also on the sidelines, cheering, thousands and thousands of people,” Nemethy recalled. “Imagine a line-up of people cheering from here to Fort Fraser.”
Watching along the up-and-down hilly race route, spectators included cheerleader crews in uniform, as well as kids with signage that said, “Hit me for power!”
The event was an opportunity to meet runners with other parts of the world, as well as experiencing the home stadium of the Boston Red Sox — Fenway Park — where the post-race party took place.
“If people have the opportunity to run with that many people or participate in an event that has gone on for that long, they should go for it,” Wanda said.
Brian Nemethy placed 310th out of 2,032 male runners in his age group, and 5,129th overall.
Wanda Nemethy placed 136th out of 1,254 female runners in her age group, and 11,727th overall.