Pine Cove resident Mark Dean heads to Boston on Tuesday, April 9, to run for the first time in that city’s prestigious marathon. As the Hill’s sole runner in the Monday, April 15, Boston event, Dean, 60, said he is proud to represent the mountain communities. The mountain may also have conferred an advantage on Dean, since he did the majority of his training at high altitude and on steep terrain trails. Boston is at sea level and the marathon course has no elevation gains comparable to the Hill trails on which Dean has trained.
“I feel really ready,” he said. “The training is going really well. Now, all the hard work is over.” Dean said he ran three miles on Saturday, up Deer Springs Trail to Suicide Rock and back. “My goal [at the marathon] is to finish in three hours and 30 minutes.” That would be an improvement of 11 minutes over his qualifying time of 3:41.
Dean said his challenge will be to establish a steady pace that would still allow him to weave his way forward through the groups (corrals) with faster qualifying times that are running in front of him. “I’ll need to sift my way through three to four thousand runners to get to the group I’d rather be running with [the group with a target race completion time the same as Dean’s],” he said. “The first five miles are downhill, so my plan is to run slower through those first five miles, then set a pace that moves me forward through the groups without accelerating bursts.”
Dean has a blog, http://Boston2622013.webr.ly, on which he has chronicled his run up to the big event. For his local training runs, Dean donned a hat that has become his signature. “Running in a small town can be treacherous with narrow icy roads and cars,” he noted on his blog. “So part of my gear was this bright cap to make me more visible.”
The Boston Marathon is the country’s oldest and attracts runners from all over the world. Started in 1897 by the Boston Athletic Association as an homage to the 1896 Olympic marathon event, the 26-mile, 385-yard race is always held on Patriot’s Day, the third Monday in April. On average, 20,000 runners compete. The centennial event in 1996 established a world record for number of competitors with 38,708 registered entrants, 36,748 starters and 35,868 finishers.
Dean noted that nearly 500,000 spectators line the race route and can present their own distractions to a runner, especially the historically exuberant Wellesley College female spectators, as well as students from Boston College. Both campuses are near the marathon route. “At Boston, one of the well-known race obstacles will be the loud scream gauntlet of Wellesley College girls with their ‘kiss me’ signs,” said Dean. “They’re renowned for adding several minutes to a runner’s time.”
Dean credited his trainer, San Diego physical therapist John Hajovsky, with providing him his training roadmap. “I wouldn’t be doing this without his direction and encouragement,” he said.
On Monday, April 8, Dean completed his last training run (eight miles) in weather more Boston-like than Idyllwild.
The Town Crier will track Dean during the race though GPI coordinates that monitor his progress in real time.