A 26 mile first step

 

Granville’s Kerri Thomas makes strides towards competing in Boston marathon 

 

It’s not the first 20 miles that gets you, local runner Kerri Thomas said, it’s the last six, especially if you forget to breathe.

 

When running a marathon it is surprisingly important to remember to breathe.

After two years of training Thomas had reached her goal, sort of.

Thomas said as she approached the starting line for the Adirondack Marathon in Schroon Lake she was full of doubts, but as the race wore on she said she was tired, but had no doubt she’d be able to finish.

She ran most of the marathon with little trouble. The Schroon Lake marathon, billed as the ‘Probably the most beautiful 26 miles 385 yards you’ll ever run’, begins with a section that consists largely of hills, but that didn’t faze her.

“But that’s great, because I love hills,” she said.

The biggest problem Thomas ran into was rounding the bend onto the home stretch where her husband, Tim, and two children, Devin and Brianna, waited for her.

“I got kind of choked up and forgot to breathe,” she said.

The emotion of having completed something so difficult, that she had trained for and worried over for so long, and the showing of support from her family came rushing up and almost overwhelmed her, she said.

On the website for the Adirondack Marathon browsers can see a photograph of Thomas and her kids crossing the finish line in one of the featured shots.

 

A social event

Surprisingly, marathons are social events.

“If you can’t talk while you’re running, then you’re running too hard and you’ll never make it,” Thomas said.

Thomas said she ran alongside a woman she met during the race and was able to have a good time checking out the scenery while keeping a respectable pace. The pace was one she said she enjoyed and also knew she could improve on.

With a goal of four hours in mind Thomas said she finished just off of her planned goal by six minutes, a time she’s certain she could trim down the next time.

That’s right – next time.

Thomas said many runners at the Schroon Lake race were chasing the goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

She said qualifying would mean running the same race she finished in 4:06 in 3:40 – 26 minutes difference over 26 miles.

That’s the goal for next year.

The Schroon Lake race is one of a few in the area where a time under the cut off can earn the runner a spot in the Boston race.

“It’s like a mantra, ‘qualify for Boston,’ a lot of people are there for that reason,” she said. The nature of the course makes it one of the more difficult places to try to register a qualifying time, however, because it is so ‘hilly’ times tend to be longer than ‘flatter’ races.

 

Discovering a joy

Thomas said she began running again for fitness after running track and cross country here in high school.

Initially kicking off her foray into fitness for an event called the Corporate Challenge, the Glens Falls National Bank branch manager said she rediscovered a joy in running that kept her going and looking to bigger and better goals.

Her first competitive race in several years came here in Granville when she ran in the annual Lioness 5K. Encouraged by her second place finish, Thomas decided to keep running.

When she completed the annual Shamrock Shuffle race, “I was on kind of a runner’s high and came home feeling so good that I signed up,” Thomas said.

“The first mile was tough,” Thomas said looking back at the early days of training, “Now anything less than 15 miles feels like a waste of time.”

That became the toughest aspect of training for a marathon, she said.

Needing to run in the neighborhood of 20 miles to train for a marathon takes about four hours and those four hours can be hard to find for a mother of two who already works long hours at the bank.

“I’m trying to be a positive role model,” Thomas said, “I run because I like it but if I can encourage one other person to lace up their sneakers and get out there it will have been worth it.”

 

 

 

Box:

FEMALE AGE GROUP:  30 to 34

 

Place        Name                     Age/Sex         Race#            City/state              Time    

1            Kelly Clark               30 F                240          New York NY             3:38:31 

2            Kristina Hubert         30 F                336          Red Hook NY             3:57:19 

3            Christine Tokarz       32 F                155         Pttsboro TX                 3:58:10 

4            Kerri Thomas          32 F                187        Middle Granville          4:06:04 

5            Kristel Kurtz             32 F                277          Charlestown MA        4:14:12 

6            Barbara Renna          33 F                167          New York NY            4:23:10 

7            Rhonda Stricklett      34 F                224            Westminster MD      4:26:36 

8        &nb
sp;  
Keri Berka                30 F                 225      Center Moriches NY      4:31:13 

9            Tanya Hewitt           33 F                 250           Parishville NY           4:37:11 

10          Alison Haas             30 F                 243                 Jay NY                 4:43:16 

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