BOSTON Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi crossed the finish line at the 122nd Boston Marathon before anybody else did April 16, winning the prestigious race with the time of 2:15:58.
Following Kawauchi to the line in the cold, wet weather were 25,745 other finishers, the last of whom reached the finish line more than six hours later, at 8:22:05.
In that pack of finishers, wearing bib No. 246, was Delano cross country coach and assistant track coach Jackson Lindquist, who crossed the line much, much closer to the Kawauchi end of the pack, in 77th place with the time of 2:36:42. That equates to approximately 6 minutes per mile.
That time is less than 21 minutes behind Kawauchi, the race winner; and three minutes better than the women’s overall winner, Desiree Linden (2:39:54).
Lindquist, who is 24 years old and a first-year third grade teacher at Delano Elementary School, finished in the top 2.9 percent of all runners who started the marathon (26,948). These numbers dropped the jaws of those who know him.
“I knew he was going to do good,” said Charlie Georges, one of Lindquist’s third-grade students.
Maybe not this good, Georges admitted.
“Out of, like, 30,000 people that’s, like, so good,” said Georges. “How is that even possible? A teacher that is from Delano, Minnesota; how can he get 77th place out of 30,000 people?”
Georges’ classmate, Will Gorrill, is equally impressed.
“I think it’s crazy how he did all that, because there were so many people,” said Gorrill. “It’s just crazy.”
The students and teachers in all the third grade rooms kept tabs Lindquist’s progress during the 26.2-mile run through Boston on the SMART Boards used in each classrooms.
“[We could see] how fast he was going. And he was going pretty fast,” said Madison Ring, another of Lindquist’s homeroom students.
Ring, like Georges, was impressed by her teacher’s performance.
“I knew he is the boys’ track coach and I knew he was a good runner,” she said. “I’m happy that he did a really good job. I didn’t know he was that good of a runner.”
It seems nobody knew Lindquist was that fast.
“He’s such a humble person. He would mention it, but didn’t talk about it like it was a big deal,” fellow third grade teacher Teresa Langton said. “I would have been bragging about it all the time. He is very quiet about it.”
It is often difficult for those outside the running world to understand a runner, and that, Lindquist said, is the primary reason he doesn’t talk much about his own running prowess.
“I’ve never been one to talk about it, because I have the impression that a lot of people don’t get it and they don’t understand much about it,” he said.
Even those well-versed in running and endurance races are awed by Lindquist’s run in Boston.
“As a recreational runner myself, I’ve dabbled with the idea of trying to qualify for Boston, but I’m a middle-of-the-pack runner and I’ve not yet conquered the infamous Boston qualifying time. So, I was simply impressed that coach was fast enough to have qualified to run in Boston,” said Alli Zens, whose seventh-grade twin boys, Justin and Caden, ran cross country for Lindquist this past fall. “ I had no idea he’d be finishing in the top 100 in Boston, which arguably makes him among the fastest runners in the world.”
Her two sons warned Zens, who is a triathlete, about how fast Lindquist is. She admits she took what they told her for granted.
“My boys had told me coach had a ‘really fast’ marathon PR, but I had no idea how ‘really fast’ they meant,” she said.
Zens and the entire running community at Delano schools are glad Lindquist is their lead runner.
“It is really fun to think about how lucky my boys are to have him as their coach for, hopefully, all of their school running tenure,” she said. “The boys really enjoy that coach runs with the kids and is always inspiring them with stories.”
In just one fall as the boys’ cross country coach, and part of this spring as the distance coach for the track team, Lindquist has earned great respect.
“Not only does he have a talent for running, but he does an excellent job with his rapport with kids, both in the classroom and on the track. He has that passion, and finds running enjoyable and wants to pass that passion on to his athletes,” said Delano Activities Director Mike Lindquist, who is also Lindquist’s uncle. “He finds success in a kid who just wants to beat his own best time. We are fortunate at Delano to have him with us.”
Chasing around those runners he coaches played into Lindquist’s training for Boston.
“With him, he would run with everybody. Kids would go on a 4- or 5-mile run, and he would put on 6 or 7 miles,” explained Mike Lindquist. “He would run back-and-forth, from the top guys to going back and encouraging the guys in the back.”
The athletes he coaches and their parents have an understanding of the running world, but not everybody does. Even those who don’t really get why someone would run 26.2 miles lent their full support for Lindquist’s journey to Boston. That, he said, meant a lot.
“One thing I really appreciate are my coworkers. None of them are runners and they don’t really get it, but they are all interested. I appreciate that. Mr. Schuler gave me a shout-out at our last staff meeting,” said Lindquist. “The support I got was ridiculous. My third grade class was unbelievable.”
Lindquist’s third grade students made a giant banner saying “Good luck, Mr. Lindquist” in support, and, Wednesday, when he returned to school, Lindquist was greeted with more banners from the entire third grade contingent.
“We are proud of him,” said Leah Petersen, another of Lindquist’s third grade colleagues.
Some of those supporters have, not-so-passively, taken credit for Lindquist’s successful run.
“I was just kidding when I said he owes all of his success to us, because he only owes part of that success to us his running success,” said third grade teacher Teresa Langton, with no seriousness at all. “We are his coaches, but we don’t like to hog the attention. We like to stay under the radar.”
Lindquist may not have willingly told his colleagues about his excellence in the running world, but the statistical evidence was out there long before he patted the streets of Bean Town with the soles of his running shoes.
Lindquist qualified for Boston by winning the Med City Marathon in Rochester last May. His time was 2:34:25.
The Med City was Lindquist’s first marathon. Boston was his second.
In college, just two years ago, as a senior on the UW-Superior cross country team, Lindquist won his share of opens and invitationals, and placed 123rd overall at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships. Before running at Superior, he was a state runner in both cross country (five times) and track (three times) for Esko High School, where his dad, Tim Lindquist, was a longtime track, cross country, and basketball coach.
Away from the tracks and cross country courses, Lindquist was a 1,000-point scorer for the Esko basketball team, finishing as the Eskimos third-leading scorer with 1,503 career points (2008-2012).
“In high school, I was a three-sport athlete and I’ve always been athletic,” he said. “And my family is all about sports. Our trips revolved around running; it is a huge part of our lives. We go to the Olympic trials in Eugene, OR as spectators, and other races. As a family, we go hiking, and we all played basketball.”
Lindquist ran Boston with his older brother, Bryan, 28, who finished 634th overall with the time of 2:50:49; and friends Adam Eskuri (970th, 2:54:31) and Kate Eskuri (14,360th, 3:53:40).
Marathoning as a family is not new to the Lindquists.
Both of Lindquist’s parents, Tim and Shari, along with his uncles, Mike and Joe, all ran marathons together, including New York.
No tea party
With his background as an athlete, Lindquist is naturally a competitor. That is evident in his own criticism of his Boston run.
“Overall, I am happy with where I finished, but, like any runner, I think I could have done better,” he said Tuesday after stepping off the airplane at MSP. “I think I could have conserved more energy. I wasn’t running as well at the end, where I wish I could have maintained a little longer.”
The scenario of not saving energy for the latter part of the race was a common occurrence, according to Lindquist’s observation, as he continued to pass more runners than what were passing him late.
Conditions were tough.
“The course is unforgiving. You think you can run fast there because the first 15 miles are downhill, but it takes a toll because you can’t train to run downhill that much,” he said. “Legs can’t train to run fast downhill. It got to the point where it was very uncomfortable running downhill.”
And, of course, the weather didn’t help.
“Going in, I was going for more time, 2:30, but, once I saw the weather forecast, I knew that wasn’t going to happen, based on knowing there would be a headwind and it would be cold and rainy,” he explained. I adjusted my strategy, and my goal was to be in the top 100. I decided to race it and that made it fun. Different motivation instead of time.”
Those conditions in Boston included temperatures in the 30s, rain, and a headwind with gusts as high as 40 miles per hour.
A Tweet Monday from Boston Marathon Medical Coordinator Chris Troyanos gives a strong indication of just how bad the weather was for runners. Troyanos Tweeted: There have been 81 runners (all from the course) transported to local area hospitals so far, 2527 total medical encounters, 25 elite athletes treated, 90 percent of them suffered from hypothermia (with [body] temperatures ranging from 80s to low 90s). Medical coordinator compared this marathon to the 2015 one, but said this was much colder with a strong head wind that made running dangerous. He said he’d still choose this day over hot ones because it’s much easier to warm people up.
After finishing the race, both Byran Lindquist and Adam Eskuri were treated for hypothermia.
Even before the Lindquist brothers arrived in Boston, the weather tested their mental toughness with last weekend’s spring blizzard. They sat at MSP International Airport for 34 hours, Saturday into Sunday, before finally finding a flight to Boston.
“We were supposed to fly out Saturday at 6 a.m. and get to Boston at 1 p.m. We tried to get on four flights before they shut the airport down. We spent the night at the airport and hopped on the next flight. We left at 10 a.m. Sunday and got to Boston at 4 p.m. Eastern time.
Lindquist could have run 13 marathons at the airport in that time.
Helping him pass the time at the airport were the well-wishes from his teaching colleagues.
“They were texting me the whole time. They wanted me to get out there because they knew how bad I wanted to do this,” he said.
Lindquist was the first Minnesotan to cross the finish line. A total of 443 runners from Minnesota completed the race.
Maybe the Minnesota winters prepared these runners for this year’s Boston Marathon.
“He trained in ridiculous conditions here in Minnesota. After our Tiger Fun Fair, he was out in the blizzard and ran 20 miles that day,” third grade teacher Charlene Warne said of Lindquist. “Hopefully, the great conditions here helped him in Boston the other day.”
There is some truth to what Warne said. And, after surviving the journey it took just to get to Boston, there was no way Lindquist was not finishing his run.
“Dropping out for me was never an option. I spent 30-plus hours in an airport to get there. I was going to finish the race,” he said. “Also, I am sure training here in Minnesota over the winter prepared me for the brutal conditions. I was relatively warm the entire time I was running. As soon as I finished is when I realized how cold, windy, and wet it really was.”
While he teaches and coaches at Delano, Lindquist’s hometown for the Boston Marathon was listed as Buffalo. Delano, itself, was represented in the Boston registery Monday, by Christine Lowery.
Lowery, 48, finished all 26.2 miles of the marathon with the time of 3:58:02.
She was running fresh off an injury, so Lowery was pleased with her finish.
“Considering that I only had four weeks to train for this race, my goal was only to finish. I ended up finishing in less than 4 hours, which I am very happy with,” said Lowery, who vows to be back and better. “I can and will do much better the next time I go back, but I am very satisfied with my performance this year and have no regrets.”
It was Lowery’s fifth running of Boston and her 10th marathon, overall. This edition was a challenge, she admitted.
“Donned with a rain jacket, long pants, and two long-sleeved shirts, I was able to keep from being cold,” she said. “The rain was intense at times and hit you like little darts. The wind gusts slowed you in your tracks when coming head on, and pushed you off your course when it came from the side. It was pretty bad, especially when entering Boston. One girl in front of me lost her hat, and I saw a metal barrier gate get blown out into the street.”
Like Lindquist, Lowery was worries she expelled too much energy early in the race.
“The first 10K were very, very difficult, mentally. Getting into the groove with the wind and rain took a lot out of me, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I was happy to hear that I was not alone in that. And that the eventual winner of the race wanted to drop out at that point, too. Trying to avoid larger puddles took a lot of energy,” she said.
There may have been a Higher Power leading Lowery to the finish line.
“I suffered a hamstring injury early on in the training, way back in mid January. I stopped training at that point and planned on withdrawing from the 2018 race,” said the 14-year Delano resident. “However, in March, I received what I believed to be a spiritual push to go ahead and run the race. My hamstring injury was mostly healed, and, so, with four weeks to get some long runs in, I trusted that God was in this with me, and recommitted to running it.”
She was also pushed to run and finish the race by an unwavering support team.
“What eventually brought me out of that place of discouragement (during the run) was thinking about my friends, who have given so much of themselves and their time and their hearts to getting a BQ (Boston qualifying time) and have either yet to do so or their BQ times were not fast enough to get them into this year’s race. I decided that I was going to run this race for them,” she explained. “Each of them would’ve given so much to be where I was at that precise moment rain, wind, and all. How could I grumble? I did it for them. That’s how I got through it.”
The mental willpower and physical stamina to finish were both there for Lowery. She, like Lindquist, credits training in Minnesota for preparing her for the conditions Boston presented.
“Training for the Boston Marathon through the cold Minnesota winters gets you ready for just about any weather variable except heat, of coarse,” she said. “I have always felt that the mental fortitude one gets in training through difficult circumstances is always to a marathoner’s benefit, as any endurance event is very mental.”
Other runners from the area included Diana Jacks, 31, of Independence (4:32:57); and David Gutermuth, 54, of Orono (3:10:30).