It took persistence from his friends, but Sylvania resident Sam Wygant finally ran the Boston Marathon.
Several runners from Northwest Ohio took on the 122nd edition of the marathon together Monday, but the process started months ago. Daily training sessions and lengthy runs are a part of it but the other element is all mental. Mr. Wygant’s friends brought back a jacket from last year’s Boston Marathon for him, which served as a constant reminder of what he was working toward.
“It was the hardest race I’ve ever done, and I’ve been running for 30 years,” Mr. Wygant said. “The conditions, the hills, all the excitement before — it just all taps your energy, but it was awesome. I’d do it all over again.”
Running a marathon isn’t easy, but this year’s weather provided a particularly tough trek. A field of 30,000 runners fought drenching rain, temperatures in the mid-30s and gusts of up to 32 mph on the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Copley Square.
“It’s the same type of weather we’ve been having in Ohio and Toledo since November,” Toledoan Herman Burmeister said. “From the start line to the finish line, there’s no way you’re getting out of the elements. It’s a shock if you’re not used to it.”
Former Central Catholic runner Connor Buchholz led the list of local participants who competed in the race. Mr. Buchholz, who went on to run at Xavier University, finished the race in 2 hours, 55 minutes, 44 seconds. Andrea Alt, a former Bowling Green runner and Perrysburg grad, managed a 02:50:41 time, though she registered as a Colorado resident.
Desiree Linden splashed her way to victory, becoming the first American woman to win the race since 1985. The two-time Olympian and 2011 Boston runner-up pulled away at the end of Heartbreak Hill and ran alone through Brookline to finish in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 39 minutes, 54 seconds. That’s the slowest time for a women’s winner since 1978.
There was plenty to celebrate, but there were also somber undertones to the race, too. The marathon marked the fifth since the 2013 bombing, where two explosions killed three and caused several gruesome injuries to others, including 16 who lost limbs.
The event rattled the nation, and Toledoan Tim Corbey was there to witness it. He’s an eight-year veteran of the race, and he crossed the finish line in 2013 just 31 minutes before the first bomb went off. He can recall plenty of hysteria, confusion, and hosting a Canadian man at his place after finding he had no access to his hotel room after the incident.
“It really went from crossing the finish line to more of crisis management,” Mr. Corbey said. “There really was no celebration or anything. It just abruptly stopped, and everybody was just trying to get out of Boston as fast as they could.”
Now people want in Boston for the marathon. Mr. Corbey said not returning to the marathon would’ve let the bad guys win, and he’s actually noticed an increase in runners trying to qualify for the race since the bombing.
Sure, he’s noticed increased security measures, such as snowplows blocking side roads and plenty of National Guard presence. But he’s also seen a newfound respect and reverence for one of the world’s most established marathons worldwide.
“With the heavy downpour and winds, we didn’t know what to expect, but there were so many people that came out,” said Whitehouse’s Susan Hanifan, who ran her first Boston Marathon this year. “The spectators screaming for everybody, it really carried you along. That Boston Strong [mentality], especially with the events that happened five years ago, was special.”
Below is a list of local entrants and their finish times at the Boston Marathon.
- Connor Buchholz (Pittsburgh) 2:55:44
- Scott Lavoy (Toledo) 03:05:05
- Chris Dilbone (Bowling Green) 03:08:49
- Jeffrey Yost (Rossford) 03:41:31
- Sam Wygant (Sylvania) 03:58:55
- Jason Lehrer (Sandusky) 03:50:09
- Steve McNamee (Sylvania) 03:23:33
- Patrick Blevins (Swanton) 03:05:23
- Robert Slater (Toledo) 03:16:15
- Lindsey Burdette (Toledo) 03:11:30
- Chris Farrar (Perrysburg) 03:40:25
- Alan Willford (Maumee) 04:18:52
- Melanie Worley (Sylvania) 03:19:26
- Tim Corbey (Toledo) 04:06:55
- George Lathrop (Ottawa Hills) 03:52:01
- Dan Vining (Toledo) 03:27:48
- Jackie Gast (Findlay) 03:18:36
- John Trame (Toledo) 03:35:47
- Leslie Edwards (Perrysburg) 03:51:47
- Tim Messer-Kruse (Toledo) 03:50:31
- Edgar Rapp (Sylvania) 03:38:45
- Christoper Roberts (Findlay) 03:38:58
- Kelly Modlinski (Toledo) 03:39:43
- Claire Cohen-Fray (Sylvania) 03:42:22
- Susan Hanifan (Whitehouse) 03:34:20
- Kelly Nichter (Maumee) 03:38:58
- Lisa Stevens (Perrysburg) 03:47:31
- Diana Messer-Kruse (Toledo) 03:50:30
- Herman Burmeister (Toledo) 03:49:59
- Barbara Bilow (Toledo) 03:49:28
- Amy Craft Ahrens (Bowling Green) 03:27:31
- Lindsey Whitehead (Holland) 05:32:37
- Bob Bethel (Maumee) 05:00:35
- Laura Novotny (Toledo) 03:56:19
- Deborah Schmidt (Sylvania) 04:18:19
- David Kelley (Ottawa Hills) 04:17:00
- Patricia Rapp (Sylvania) 04:17:00
- Tina Steinhauser (Maumee) 04:02:11
- Zachary Glenn (Toledo) 03:05:30
- Mark Lohman (Toledo) 03:37:11
- Greg Black (Bowling Green) 02:56:54
- Andrew Messer (Holland) 02:58:32
- Patrick Allen (Maumee) 03:33:31
- Lisa Wagner (Maumee) 03:44:16
- Tim Carney (Sylvania) 03:05:47
- Jacqui Barber (Sylvania) 03:50:30
- Kori Kawczynski (Sylvania) 03:44:41
- Mary Dressel (Whitehouse) 03:42:31
- Ashley Ciesielczyk (Northwood) 03:42:49
- Jennifer Shively (Waterville) 04:21:40
- Tim Oser (Waterville) 03:27:06
Blade reporter Jeremy Schneider and Blade News Services contributed to this report.
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