Vanderhoof runners share their Boston Marathon experience

Three runners from the District qualified to run in the 26.2 miles marathon

Three runners from Vanderhoof participated in the 2019 Boston Marathon. From left: Claire Radcliffe, Jennifer Little, Brian Nemethy. (Submitted photo)

Have you been pushing yourself to take your sneakers out this spring and go for that run you’ve been thinking about?

Regardless of what your answer is the story of these Vanderhoof runners and their recent adventure running the Boston marathon will definitely inspire you.

Brian Nemethy, Claire Radcliffe and Jennifer Little, members of the District’s running club trained hard and qualified for the marathon, which some of them had only dreamed of, said Radcliffe.

Nemethy ran his first Boston Marathon in 2016 and is a passionate runner. He is the coach for the Master Running Club in Vanderhoof and has been participating in marathons since he was in grade 11. He qualified for the Boston Marathon then itself, he said. However, he didn’t participate in any of the marathons south of the border as it clashed with his work time.

“I never wanted to do it because it always was in spring and with work as a teacher, its just too hard to fit it all in with the kids and all that. And then my wife qualified. And I was like whoa – okay how often are you going to qualify because you may get injured or something could happen that won’t allow me to run the marathon again. And then I thought I would run it and both me and my wife ran the 2016 Boston Marathon,” he said.

For Nemethy, 2019 marks 30 years since he ran his first marathon in grade 11.

And he doesn’t make running sound hard. During the winter, Nemethy said he would get on his treadmill for 25 kilometres and put on a DVD for Ironman. No, not Robert Downey Jr, but the Ironman Triathlon where he said some runners on the DVD are shown working out continuously for 17 hours.

“You can see Ironman and see how hard they are working out… And then you realize if it is tough now, it is going to be tougher at the race. I got used to running on the treadmill, because well for some people, it is too slow. And for some, the run isn’t entertaining enough, so I have the video going and the fan going so it’s perfect,” Nemethy said.

For both Radcliffe and Little, this was their first Boston Marathon and they qualified in their first try.

Radcliffe was in the female, 60-64 category and needed 4 hours and 25 minutes to qualify for the 26.2 miles run. And she finished her qualifying round in 3 hours 51 minutes.

“I had three goals — to Boston qualify for 2020, to come in under 4 hours and to be top 10 percent of my age group. And I did all three, so I was over the moon happy,” Radcliffe said.

The trio started training at the end of November for the 2019 Boston Marathon which was held on April 15. They each did an 18-week training program.

In December, Nemethy said he asked Radcliffe and Little whether they would be interested in going to Prince George once a week to the indoor track at UNBC.

“So we did that every Tuesday and Wednesday starting in December all the way until March and that was a hard workout and we wouldn’t have been able to do it if we were doing it by ourselves,” Radcliffe said.

The athletes did different routines while they were training and sometimes Nemethy said, they would run 280 metres ten times and then somedays it would be 800 metres 10 times, 1 mile repeats and more. They said they managed to deal with the cold winter the region saw this February and made it for their weekly training to Prince George.

“One cold Sunday in February, it was – 39 Celsius and we had to drive to Prince to do our long run in the indoor track and we had to do 26 kms that morning, which is 90 laps around the track. So I did one hour on the track, one hour on the treadmill and one hour on the track again. But Jen and Brian did the whole thing on the track, which is very painful to do,” Radcliffe said.

For all three of them, the experience running amidst thousands of people was something they will always remember.

The first Boston Marathon was held in 1897 and Radcliffe said she has read stories of the winners and losers of the race, “the battles for first place. Just all the stories. People put their heart and soul in the run. Some people have tried to Boston qualify their whole lives and finally they get in.”

For Little, she enjoyed the crowd and spectator support while she ran. “So many people cheering, holding signs and giving encouragement for the entire 26.2 miles. As you may imagine there are some tough periods over the course of running such a distance. The crowd support was fabulous for sure.”

Nemethy said people who are interested in running should come out to Nechako Valley Secondary School on Tuesday nights. He said the running club is inclusive to people who are at all stages of running.

READ MORE: More than a sport, running is a lifestyle

READ MORE: Local runners get personal bests at Kelowna half marathon

Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

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