In about one week, a strong contingent of Windsor-Essex runners will be making the trip stateside for the prestigious 126th running of the Boston Marathon.
Qualifying for the Boston Marathon has been a long journey for 56-year-old Windsor, Ont. runner Uwe Thamm.
“I was always on my bucket list,” Thamm says, noting he’s come close in the past but fell just short a number of times.
“It took me 21 running shoes, over 15,000 kilometers running, 1,500 hours and 1,500 events, and yes, finally, I’m in,” Thamm adds, and is part of the Malden Park Runners club. He and a couple dozen others will be making the trip to Boston next week for a taste of marathon greatness.
“This is my dream, right? And that is what I worked for nine years and finally I’m excited to go there,” he says.
Joining him are other first timers like Tara Paterson and Maurice Bottos.
“I’m not nervous yet, but probably when we get there,” says Paterson, who trains regularly with Bottos. “Won’t be sleeping the night before…it’s the crown jewel of marathons.”
For most entrants, just being there or a personal best time is the goal.
But a group of local master’s runners has high hopes for accolades.
“We should be competing for a title hopefully,” says Jeramie Carbonaro, who is part of a seven-member team made up of Windsor and Muskoka runners who are capable of running times to put them in the podium conversation alongside the 70 other teams competing .
Carbonaro figures their top three finishers will need to run a combined time of under eight hours for a shot at a medal.
“It’s a good way to be competitive at an old age, the difference is we don’t take ourselves seriously,” he says. “It’s just as much as when you’re a teenager toeing the line, same idea.”
It’s not the first rodeo for the 40 and over team, which is running under the University of Windsor Athletic Club banner.
But the team recognizes this time — the stakes are higher.
“It doesn’t matter how many times you do it, I still have the same nerves like the first time you did it,” says teammate Ron Seguin.
“No matter how old you get, it’s a race and you get that nervous anticipation of wanting to do well and perform to your ability,” adds another teammate, David Orchard.
This year’s race kicks off April 18.