Boston Strong: Local runner ready to tackle MarathonPublished 10:49am Monday, April 14, 2014
Those are numbers associated with the Boston Marathon.
And here’s another one: 1.
As in the one percent of Americans who have completed a marathon.
Elizabethton’s Holly Street is already part of that one percent, but she still considers herself a marathon “newbie” – When she sets off on April 21 with that 36,000-strong pack, it will be her third marathon.
But it’s a special one to her.
Street tried to qualify for the Boston Marathon last year, but did not meet the time needed for the race, one forever marked by a bomb that killed three people and wounded hundreds.
She said it was “special” to be in the group to run in the first Boston Marathon after the tragedy. This year’s group of runners is the second-largest to participate in the marathon, second only to the field for the race’s 100-year anniversary.
“It will be very overwhelming, very special, to be in this group,” she said. “Everyone was trying to get in this race. They opened up more spots this year, because of that, and to let the people who couldn’t finish last year have another chance.”
She said she has no fear of running the race after what happened last year.
“We are going to let the bombers know they are not going to take us down,” she said. “That kind of thing could happen at any time. It could happen anywhere. Why should I let someone like that, like those bombers, interrupt a dream that I want to do?”
To enter the Boston race, a runner needs to run a qualifying time at a previous Boston-approved marathon. Her previous marathons were in Myrtle Beach and Allentown, Pa.
But making the time is no guarantee of a place.
Although more spaces were opened in the race, and Street ran a qualifying time of 3:33 in her Allentown marathon, there was still a chance she would not gain a spot in the race.
“We registered in phases,” she said. “The elite runners registered first and were pretty much guaranteed a spot. I was in the last phase so it came down to waiting. It could’ve been that I had qualified but ‘Sorry, there are no spots left’.”
She said it didn’t really sink in that she had secured a spot in the marathon until she started training for the race.
“There is a lot of training,” Street said. “Mainly it is putting in a lot of miles, and there is a lot of emotion. Sometimes the physical part is not as hard as the mental. When you are out on a 20-mile training run, it is a lot worse if you are by yourself.”
Street gets a lot of support from her husband, Patrick, who is also a runner, and several friends in her running group.
“My husband is my biggest supporter,” she said. “I have two friends who call me and asking me if I want to run that day.”
Now that race day is drawing closer, Street is in the tapering portion of her training plan. She said she as gone from running 50 to 70 miles each week to 20 to 30 miles a week. She said her meal plans are focused on providing the correct nutrition for her muscles they are as strong as they can be.
On race day, Street has to start her day at 7 a.m. to be on the bus to go to the starting line. Her “wave” of the race does not begin until 10:25 a.m.
“That will definitely be a change in my routine,” she said. “Mainly I will be looking at staying loose and not letting my muscles get tight.”
Before every race, Street said she does the same stretches and eats the same breakfast: oatmeal with a banana and lots of water. She said she also keeps the tradition of keeping her fingernails painted the same color for each race.
She thinks all of her hard work and preparation is going to pay off on race day.
“I do hope to have a faster time than what I qualified with,” she said. “I have been running really well.”
Knowing that the marathon is just 10 days away is a thrilling thought for Street.
“It is exciting,” she said. “I was thinking of Boston when I was running the other day. It was overwhelming. This is biggest stage in the world for a runner to be on. Every runner that will be there has worked hard to get where they are.”
Street is not the only runner from Elizabethton that is scheduled to be in the Boston Marathon this year. Sheri Nemeth, who was featured by the Star in an article last April, and Mark Timbs are also on the list of registered runners.