By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN The prestigious Boston Marathon, with its 113-year history, attracts runners from all over the world including Katie Thompson, Holy Trinity 2002 graduate, who was one of the 23,162 runners in this year’s race.
All runners who participated in the marathon April 20 were required to have a qualifying time from a previous marathon affiliated with the International Association of Athletics Federations.
Thompson had qualified last June in Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth.
Since Jan. 1, she has been training for the Boston Marathon, and admits to being “a little intimidated” by Boston’s runners.
“You know that everyone there has earned their way,” Thompson said.
For the 26.2-mile course, Thompson finished 7,479th overall with a time of three hours, 30 minutes and 38 seconds. In her age division, there were a total of 10,128 runners and she placed 1,018th in that division.
The 9,311 female finishers in this year’s marathon set a new record as the most in Boston’s history, according to the bostonmarathon.org web site.
“I didn’t have high expectations for myself at Boston, because I wanted to go there and enjoy the race and enjoy the scenery,” Thompson said.
“The only goal I had was that I wanted to finish in the top 10,000.”
The weather made the race more challenging for the runners, who started the day at 7 a.m. with a temperature of about 40 degrees, and lots of wind.
“The race didn’t start until 10 a.m. and it was really cold just sitting out there,” Thompson said. “You kind of huddled together for heat, but once you got going, the first mile, you warmed up.”
The Boston Marathon is known for attracting as many as 500,000 spectators each year and is considered New England’s most widely-viewed sporting event, according to “BAA Boston Marathon Race Facts.”
“There were fans along the entire way at the marathon cheering you on,” Thompson said.
At Wellesley College, located in the 13th mile of the race, it is tradition for the students to cheer on the runners in what is referred to as the “scream tunnel.”
“At first, we thought maybe it was a train and then, all of sudden, you hear the Wellesley girls cheering,” Thompson said. “You could hear them three-quarters of a mile away. They kept it up the entire time.”
Thompson’s parents, Debbie and Alan of Winsted, and a Holy Trinity classmate, Melissa Williams, were there in Boston to cheer Thompson on.
Alan is a Minnesota State Trooper who had the opportunity to meet a couple of Boston police officers, who offered the four visitors a tour of the Boston Harbor the night before they returned to Winsted.
The two-hour tour of the harbor was in a Boston police boat.
“It was really cool,” Thompson said.
Future plans for the runner
Thompson began her running career when she was just 4 years old running the half-mile fun-run for kids at Winsted Legion Days.
Her first marathon was the 2007 Grandma’s Marathon. She missed her qualifying time by 18 minutes.
Not one to give up, she was back at the 2008 Grandma’s Marathon and came in five minutes under the three hours and 40 minutes needed to participate in the Boston Marathon.
Why does she do it?
“It is so hard to answer that,” Thompson said. “I just like staying active. It is kind of a way to push yourself.”
She continues to set goals for herself as she prepares for various other events.
For this year, her plans include the half-ironman triathlon in June which is 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of biking, and 13.1 miles of running in Maple Plain’s Liberty Triathlon.
Then, in August, she and five guys from the Eden Prairie Community Center, where she works out regularly, will be in the Great River Ragnar Relay.
It is a race from LaCrosse, WI to Minneapolis.
“It is typically a 12-man team, but we are doing it with a six-man team,” Thompson said. “You race straight through.”
Thompson’s total distance will be 35 miles for the race her first run will be 17 miles of the relay.
Two vans will drop the runners off at a predetermined location and wristbands are exchanged before the next runner takes a turn. The entire relay will take 28 hours and will continue throughout the night.
A third event will be the Chicago Marathon in October.