Every Patriot’s Day, some of the world’s most elite athletes travel to Massachusetts, to participate in the Boston Marathon.
For these runners, competing in the famous race is an unforgettable experience.
“I’m excited to get out and run with some of the best marathoners in the world,” said BYU statistics professor and 2016 Rio Olympics runner Jared Ward before the race.
Ward ended up placing 10th overall at Boston on Monday.
Ward said the Boston Marathon was his first main race since running in the Olympics. To prepare, he said he ran about 120 miles per week, typically split into two runs per day, with a single longer run on Saturday.
Ward said one of the most important aspects to becoming a competitive runner is consistency. He said he’s heard it takes four years of consistent training for a marathoner to really bloom.
“You’ve got to get on a program and get out there every day or almost every day and sustain that over weeks and months,” Ward said.
BYU alum Mary Caplin qualified for the Boston Marathon in her first marathon and ran the race in 2016. She said marathons are great learning and life experiences, and Boston was no different.
BYU engineering student Ethan Bever qualified for the Boston Marathon in the October 2016 St. George Marathon. He said before the race he was greatly looking forward to running the 2018 Boston Marathon.
“I think it would be cool to PR while running it,” Bever said. “I heard it was a fast course.”
Bever said he ran in high school to condition for other sports, but he didn’t get serious about running until his freshman year at BYU. He said he would advise people who were considering getting into running to “do it.”
“Running a race — whether it be a half, a 10k or a 5k — is a really rewarding feeling,” Bever said.
Bever said he especially enjoys the training aspect of marathon running because he has time to himself to think.
Aaron Forrest, who graduated from BYU last April, also competed in the Boston Marathon. Forrest said he wasn’t a runner until two years ago, instead opting for weight lifting and overall fitness.
Over time, Forrest’s love for fitness developed into a love for running.
“It’s nice to go for a long run during the day and clear my mind,” Forrest said. “I love running because it gives me more time to find a comfortable pace and think about the priorities that I need to get done.”
Forrest said he barely qualified for the Boston Marathon nine months ago in the Las Vegas Marathon and then ran the St. George Marathon as well, where he qualified by a much larger margin. He said his number one goal for Boston was to enjoy the race, especially because he’s worked so hard to qualify for it.
Forrest said his advice to new runners would be to learn patience.
“At first I hated running, and the better I became at it and as I overcame the challenges, I found out that I loved it,” said Forrest.