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This, that and another thing — observations on the day of the 126th Boston Marathon from an Easter morning walk/jog/run.
First, the latter word in that sentence is debatable, depending on your definition of “run.”
And that, folks, was the first of my thoughts while out and about early Sunday morning in northeast Cedar Rapids. Is this really running? It’s in the eye of the beholder.
Here are some other random thoughts, maybe with a few lessons about life, too (sports really do give us important perspective at times):
- What were once inclines are now hills. What were once hills are now avoided, a good place to turn left or right or around.
- A good pace is another of those relative terms. What was once considered “fast” is unattainable these days. What was considered “slow” is attainable when the wind is at your back and the route is slightly downhill.
- Watches, once vital on every run, are a necessary evil these days. Except for the GPS function that tells you it’s time to stop, they often offer depressing news.
- Jogging, once a four-letter word, now is a joy.
Speaking of running, one of the things lost in the shuffle of Iowa and Iowa State NCAA basketball tournament runs this season — not to mention another successful wrestling season — was the fact Mount Mercy University senior Andrea Ertz put the finishing touches on a wonderful track career.
Ertz is the epitome of a college athlete maturing, growing and taking advantage of good coaching/teaching.
A good, but not great high school runner at Marion, Ertz wrapped her Mustang career as the most decorated track and field athlete in school history.
At the NAIA indoor national championships last month, Ertz finished second in the mile and 1,000-meter run. She finished her career as the only eight-time All-American in Mount Mercy history.
She came into the championships ranked fifth in the mile, ran the fastest time in the prelims and came within a few ticks of winning a national title. Her time of 4 minutes, 56.17 seconds shattered her own school record and was less than a second behind winner Becca Richtman of Montana Tech (4:55.76).
In the 1,000, she again broke her own school record with a 2:51.96 clocking.
“I’ve always been a distance runner,” she said in a 2019 article, before running the marathon at the NAIA outdoor national championships, a first for her. “I love long runs. I love 10-plus mile runs.”
She helped the Mustangs finish 12th in the 2022 indoor meet, another school best.
Learning about and believing in yourself, trusting your coaching and teaching, and growing — isn’t that what college years should be all about?
Sticking with the put-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other theme, today is the Boston Marathon.
Always a hopeful destination for area marathoners, there are 28 Eastern Iowan in this year’s field. Boston is the oldest marathon in the world and one of six “World Marathon Majors.”
The list of area entrants includes Melissa Bishop, Evan Bradley and Jack Hackbarth of Cedar Rapids, Brannen Bourgeois and Jessie Knoles of Marion, Chase Atkinson, Ethan Domke, Whitney Donaldson, John Gretter, Adam Klotz, Mindy Olson, Joel Shilyansky, Joy Tinnes and Erik Westlund of Iowa City, and Danika Dougherty, Kristen Leff and Ion Vasi of Coralville.
Also in the 26.2-mile race from Hopkinton to Copley Square in Boston are Phil Decker and Michael Mather of Robins, Robert Murphy of Mount Vernon, Megan Miller of North Liberty, Vic Clark of West Liberty, Sara Dever of Dyersville, Jennifer Duster of Solon, Brian Thorn of Manchester, Melissa Vega of Postville, and Evan Neubauer and Brenda Rix of Decorah.
In the words of Neil Young, “long may you run.”
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