It might read “I ran a 2:36 marathon”. I find his time impressive considering that while in his first year of university the three sports he chose for his mandatory physical education credit were fencing, bowling and swimming. His discovery of long-distance running shortly after, was his first real foray into jockdom, if you can call it that.
He ran his first marathon, the Ottawa marathon in 1977 in a time of 3:13. His second was the Toronto marathon later that year where he qualified for Boston with a sub-three-hour effort, easily going under the qualifying mark of 3 hours. At Boston on a very rainy day he ran 2:47 another P.B. despite making a pit stop in a restaurant where he ended up using the women’s washroom. Porta potties were not as plentiful back in the day. His fourth consecutive P.B. was posted at a small marathon in England called the Milton Keynes marathon. After that he took quite a few runs at going under 2:40 and then finally ran a 2:36 at Detroit his all-time P.B.
Injuries, including knee problems, and fatherhood intervened and since then he has only run one marathon. That was the Columbus marathon in 2000 to celebrate his 50th birthday in what for him was a hugely disappointing time of 3:14:03. I ran that same marathon and finished in 3:15:22. It is a part of family lore that had the race been 800 meters longer, I would have passed him. He was in fact, fitter than I was but went out too fast with a 1:30 half-marathon split and a very painful and plodding 1:44 second half. Had he paced himself more wisely, I think he would have gone under 3:10.
So that was yesteryear. Yesterday my husband ran around Queen’s Park circle, a popular downtown running loop in Toronto and spotted a crew from the local news station. He made a detour, worried that his knee doctor might spot him on TV, blatantly disobeying his orders to avoid any vigourous activity. A blog or two ago, I inadvertently offended my husband by referring to the current state of his running as meager. When he mentioned this to his boss, a long-time and often-injured runner himself, his boss laughed in commiseration. Well, at least my unintended insult had the positive effect of a lightening the workday with a laugh.
As for lightening up, that is our current mantra as we are hoping and praying that physics will be on our side and a weight loss of 7-10 pounds might be all that is needed to put his knee on the right track.
Incidentally, the 5 X 7 proof above was mailed to every finisher by Marathon Fotos, rubber-stamped lightly with the words, “PROOF ONLY Property of Marathon Fotos”. Things change.