While the mild winter has been a bane to winter sports enthusiasts, it has been a blessing to local runners training for the 107th running of the mother of all marathons Boston Marathon.
Separating itself from other races, the 20,000 runners in the Boston Marathon have to time- qualify to enter the grueling 26-mile run from Hopington Square to downtown Boston. Last summer a team of five local runners did just that while competing in the Chicago Marathon. It started out as a goal for a group of friends that had been running together for several years and thought that it would be fun to all run together in a major marathon. "I really didn't go with the idea of qualifying for the Boston, but the weather was good and Chicago was a fast course, so I lucked out," said Mary Stenga.
The group has been maintaining the same training schedule as they did in preparing for the Chicago race with a 20 mile run on Saturdays, a speed run on Wednesdays, plus biking and running in-between. "The weather has been pretty good to us and we've been able to do the same training as we did for the Chicago. It's all about having a goal that keeps you running," said Kenda Blanning, who also qualified in Chicago.
Connie Best is looking forward to the Boston run, but feels that it's the qualifying that separates the Boston from other marathons. "I don't think it's actually harder than other races, I think the Mayor's Marathon in Anchorage is probably tougher, but I'm excited about the Boston because I'm running with three of my good friends and that's what makes it so exciting is to be able to go and do it with them," said Best.
The local group of Boston qualifiers includes Paul Turner of Kenai, Kenda Blanning, Mary Stenga, Jenni Mishler and Connie Best. They'll all be heading out April 17th for the 107th running of the Boston Marathon, which takes place April 21st. For more details on the Alaskan runners and the Boston Marathon, go to www.bostonmarathon.com and type in Alaska runners.
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