Karen Chávez, Asheville Citizen Times
Asheville will be well-represented at the 123rd Boston Marathon, which takes flight the morning of April 15 in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.
Arguably the world’s most coveted marathon, it is certainly one of the oldest and the most infamous, for its troubled – and not-so-distant - past of barring women from running, to its strict eligibility requirements to the deadly finish line bombing in 2013 that claimed three lives and seriously injured hundreds of others.
But Boston remains Boston Strong, as the catch phrase that emerged in the aftermath of the bombings and runners and humans from across the globe rallied to raise money for the victims, find the killers, and continue the ultimate legacy in the running world.
And Asheville has always had a close connection with Boston.
More than 30 runners from Asheville and Western North Carolina have signed up to run Boston this year. Below is a list of those registered – many having signed up a year in advance. So, some may not be running due to anything from illness and injury to change of heart, but this is the most up-to-date list, according to the Boston Athletic Association, which produces the marathon.
They are among the more than 30,000 runners who will be competing in the 26.2-mile race from Hopkinton to Boston. Just getting your name on this elite list is a feat and an accomplishment worth celebrating.
The Boston Marathon is one of the only such event in the world that requires a time qualification in a certified marathon, based on age and gender. So it’s not just like signing up – you’ve got to prove you’re among the fastest marathon runners in your age group just to qualify, and then you have to beat the buzzer by registering before all the other qualifiers.
For marathon runners, making it to Boston is often a life’s goal and the pinnacle of a running career, whether amateur or elite. The field boasts Olympic runners, including last year’s winner Des Linden, celebrities and crossover athletes, such as NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson, who is running this year.
Here are the kinds of times you can expect: Last year’s female winner, Des Linden, crossed the line in 2 hours, 39 minutes, 54 seconds. (Consider the average female marathon runner finishes in 4 hours, 30 minutes.)
The male winner was Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi, in 2:15:58.
And then there are the gritty, determined, everyday runners from Asheville who hold down full-time jobs, are mothers and fathers, endure setbacks such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and even broken toes and other bones, and put in hundreds of miles training throughout every kind of weather during the winter months to get to the start line.
Like Uta Brandstatter, 47, an Asheville nurse who is also in grad school, and formerly ran the Facebook group Let's Run Asheville, and Stephanie Wallace, 40, of Asheville, who is a mom of two little girls, works at Habitat for Humanity, and has endured training setbacks due to injuries.
But Wallace made it to Boston Friday night and reported: “The energy here is amazing. Despite dealing with injury these past few months, I feel light and confident that the community will carry me. A Boston finish is in my future!”
The hordes of runners, as well as the millions of spectators, will have to endure another year of cold, rainy Boston weather, as the forecast is calling for.
But when you’re Boston Strong, what’s a little rain?
Congratulations and good luck to everyone running and cheering and holding down the fort in Boston!
Want to follow your favorite runner? Track them at www.baa.org.
WNC runners registered to run the Boston Marathon:
1. Short, Katherine;24;F;Asheville
2. Murphy, Kyle;36;M;Asheville
3. Voorhees, Marc;64;M;Asheville
4. Marshall, Susan;46;F;Asheville
5. Burkhalter, Todd;45;M;Asheville
6. Chen, Peiweng;38;M;Asheville
7. Knechtel, Daniel;45;M;Asheville
8. Wallace, Stephanie;40;F;Asheville
9. Crane, Nicole;51;F;Asheville
10. Bernard, Adele;25;F;Asheville
11. Stern, Colette;42;F;Asheville
12. Kuhne, Jody;49;M;Asheville
13. Deholl, Devi;27;M;Asheville
14. Rollins, Elizabeth;38;F;Asheville
15. Cooper, Meg;36;F;Asheville
16. Johnson, Tracey;52;F;Asheville
17. Brandstatter, Uta;47;F;Asheville
18. Ponder, Elizabeth;40;F;Asheville
19. Dunn, Patrick;57;M;Asheville
20. Chappelear, Emily;40;F;Burnsville
21. Kain, Elizabeth;35;F;Marshall
22. Sloan, Leslie;41;F;Fletcher
23. Caldwell, Ralph;65;M;Waynesville
24. Mcneil, Thad;18;M;Fletcher
25. Baker, Dustin;38;M;Fletcher
26. Hilty, Kay;58;F;Franklin
27. Norton, Ellie;30;F;Sylva
28. Carlinnia, Brian;48;M;Fletcher
29. Jakushev, Kimberly;32;F;Franklin
30. Bodnar, Jason;48;M;Candler
31. Bodnar, Jennifer;47;F;Candler
32. Langteau-Ball, Kelly;43;F;Waynesville
33. Devan, Rhonda;48;F;Swannanoa