Idyllwild is on the map, at least on the map of Boston Marathon participants. Local runner Mark Dean has qualified and plans to participate in the event on April 15. His time in the June 2012 San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon qualified him for the 2013 Boston Marathon.
Dean’s marathon experience consists of just two races — the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon in 2006 and again in 2012. About a week after the 2006 Rock and Roll Marathon, a running partner told Dean, “Had you been a year older, your time would have been good enough to qualify you for the Boston.”
“I was 53 when I ran it, and had I been 54 then, my qualifying time for Boston would have been 3 hours and 45 minutes. My time was 3:45:35,” Dean said in an email. “But the seed had been planted, I could conceivably qualify for Boston. That was the first time I seriously considered the idea.”
He received confirmation of his Boston entry on Dec. 1, just in time to begin his 18-week training ramp up for the mid-April race. Dean is following a preparation schedule from www.sport-fitness-advisor.com. He used the same site to prepare for his 2012 San Diego run.
Though Dean has always been a runner, participating in track and cross-country in high school, he gave little thought to running a marathon. He attended Mesa College in San Diego, where his attention instead turned to soccer. As in most sports, speed was important. Despite his limited soccer experience, Dean could race the ball down the sideline and then center to the middle.
“Soccer became my love and I kept playing up until a few years ago, which left me in good condition for marathons,” he said.
It wasn’t until a business trip many years later that Dean considered his first marathon after a conversation with a Marine sergeant. She was stationed in San Diego and they were to run the Rock and Roll Marathon together. But she was shipped to Iraq and Dean trained with another friend. He knew an experienced runner in San Diego and convinced this friend to help him train for the 2006 San Diego event. His finishing time planted the seed in his mind that Boston was possible, and in 2012 he qualified.
“It was cool to go to the Boston Marathon website and go to the list of qualifiers and just type in the word ‘Idyllwild’ under city and have my name come up, that was really cool.” Dean said.