George A. Hancock
The time was 12:15 p.m. It was Monday April 19, 1897. Tom Burke had drawn a line across the dirt road with his foot. Eighteen men gathered near Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland, Massachusetts.
These quiet men were facing Boston located about 25 miles away. At 12:19 p.m. Burke yelled “Go!”
The 18 runners surged away on their long trek to Boston. The rest is Boston Marathon history.
This marathon has earned epic stature 118 years later.
The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest continuous marathon. The Boston Athletic Association has sponsored the race since its beginning.
A prestigious running event, the Boston Marathon traditions are coupled with its historic legacy.
And, not just any runner can enter and run this classic marathon.
Marathon runners must run an age group specific qualifying time on a certified course before toeing the Boston starting line in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. United States residents pay a steep $175 entry fee. Hotel reservations are made months in advance. But, the intense marathon training, the money spent, and the sacrifice reaps huge rewards. Crossing the Boston Marathon finish line amidst that cheering throng is a cherished running goal.
The 118th Boston Marathon gets underway on Monday. The race field is expected to exceed 36,000 runners. This is a 9,000 runner increase over previous years.
The 2014 Boston Marathon features eight starts. The first start begins at 8:50 a.m. with the mobility impaired athletes. The elite women begin at 9:32 a.m. The elite men and the first wave begin at 10:00 a.m. The last wave leaves the start area at 11:25 a.m.
Boston’s storied history frequently attracts marathon runners from our region. Perhaps the highest finishing spot by a local runner was achieved during the 1958 race. T. Suito, from Homer City finished 12th in 2:57:52.
The fastest local finishing time was set during the 1983 Boston run. Richland Township distance runner Steve Molnar finished 39th in 2:16:41. Molnar holds the Johnstown Marathon record time and is a Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame member.
The 1983 Boston run was also the last win for an American male runner. Greg Meyer won that marathon in 2:09:00.
The local trek to Boston continues in 2014. The extended Winter season and last year’s finish line bombings are not deterring area runners. Jackie Horvath, 50, leads a delegation of Ligonier runners to the 2014 Boston start. The other Ligonier runners are 36-year old Jeremiah Wagner and 43-year old Valerie Christoff.
John Rosatti, Jr., 56, from Somerset is also entered in the Beantown classic run.
Seven runners from the Indiana Road Runners Club (IRRC) are running the 26.2 mile 2014 Boston Marathon. The IRRC runners include two husband/wife teams. Aileen, 48, and Scott, 49, Bowman comprise one team. The other team is Cathy, 55, and John, 62, Swauger. Mike Hodak, 60, Nicole Dann, 30, and Doug Ulishney, 53, are the other IRRC Boston runners.
Ebensburg resident Kevin Doyle, 34, is the local runner to watch this year. Doyle brings impressive running credentials to the 2014 Boston start. Doyle grew up near Butler graduating from Knox High School in 1998. His outstanding high school years earned him a spot at St. Francis University in Loretto.
Doyle had a stellar running career at St Francis. Doyle’s 13:55 5K time is the school record. Doyle graduated from St. Francis in 2002 with a degree in Computer Science.
Doyle after graduation joined the Michigan Brooks-Hanson running team.
Doyle’s two years with the Brooks-Hanson team were an incredible running experience.
Doyle states “while at Hansons running was everything which was an amazing lifestyle to live but eventually I got burnt out and my focus turned towards family and career which lead me back to Pennsylvania.”
Doyle resides in Ebensburg with wife Julie and children Madeline (6), Miles (4), and Emmett (7 months). He is employed by Global Tel Link in Altoona.
Doyle is active in the Ebensburg running community. His first marathon was the November 10, 2012 Richmond Marathon.
His 2:32:45 14th-place finish earned a spot at Boston’s 2014 start.
Doyle is ready for Boston’s historic course. He hopes to run a good time while absorbing Boston’s rich atmosphere.