Through the inspiration of what happened in April’s Boston Marathon bombings, Eastern Michigan University sophomore Heather Irvine started her quest of running in that same event by participating in her first ever Chicago Marathon.
Irvine, 44, finished 112th in the 40-44 age group with a time of 3:36.32 – good enough to qualify for next year’s Boston Marathon.
Because of the overwhelming number of runners that have registered for next year’s Boston Marathon, she will have to wait until 2015 to participate in the prestigious event.
“I plan on going in 2015, unless I get something together to do some fundraising for 2014,” Irvine said. “But at this point, it will be a bit daunting.”
In order to prepare herself for the marathon, she trained for six months by running for miles on sidewalks in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.
“I did not start out at ground zero because I run all of the time,” Irvine said. “I started going hardcore on my training within the last four months. My last 22-mile training run was about three weeks ago. I trained so hard with the motivation of being able to qualify for the Boston Marathon.”
Initially, Irvine had no intentions of running in the Chicago and Boston Marathons.
“When I ran in Detroit last year, it was my first marathon and I didn’t have any idea that I wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon,” Irvine said. “I was two minutes and 37 seconds slow and didn’t qualify. As a result, I trained hard for Chicago and I did it.”
Irvine’s preparation spots varied.
“On long runs, I would literally leave my house in Ypsilanti, all the way to the west side of Ann Arbor and back again,” Irvine said.
Irvine sees the long and grueling runs as a commitment to being disciplined.
“It is the commitment you make to marathon running,” Irvine said. “I haven’t loved every minute of it, but overall it is worth it at the end of the day.”
A symbolic moment she enjoyed before the start of the Chicago Marathon was being a part of the 40,000 runners who joined as one to sing the national anthem.
“As the performer was singing, the microphone kept going in and out,” Irvine said. “After the second and third time it went out, all of the runners in the race started singing the anthem and finished it together. It was such a moving moment.”
Once the race started, everything was smooth sailing for Irvine until mile 23 when she felt something wrong internally and had to vomit, almost causing her to pull out for good.
“I pushed myself so hard because the first half of the marathon, I ran my fastest time ever at an hour and 42 minutes,” Irvine said. “I kept pushing and was loving that the fans were cheering me on. I knew I wanted to keep going, but my stomach had
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