Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Boston marathon ‘humbling’

By CLINTON DICK, Herald Staff Writer | 4/23/2014

It was a one-of-a-kind experience, Ryan Huschka said.

Though it was his fourth time running in the Boston Marathon, Huschka’s race Monday was unlike any other, he said. One year after the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260, Huschka, a 2000 Ottawa High School graduate, finished the race in 2:58.16.

It was a one-of-a-kind experience, Ryan Huschka said.

Though it was his fourth time running in the Boston Marathon, Huschka’s race Monday was unlike any other, he said. One year after the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260, Huschka, a 2000 Ottawa High School graduate, finished the race in 2:58.16.

“After the tragedy and everything that happened, I really wanted to be a part of the race this year, so I decided to go back and run it,” Huschka, 32, who lives in Washington, D.C., said. “The Boston Marathon is an incredible experience every year and sort of unique and one of a kind in its inclusiveness and the way the community really rallies behind the event.

“By a degree of magnitude, it was on a whole ’nother level this year, as you can imagine. It was very apparent to me along the course that there were hundreds of thousands more people at this event,” he continued. “It was a humbling, but at the same time inspiring, experience. One of the survivors came out and spoke to everyone at the starting line before we took off, and that was very emotional. It was hours after I had finished that random people on the street were still coming up and talking to you.”

Huschka, the son of James and Sherry Huschka, Ottawa, previously ran the Boston Marathon in 2010, 2011 and 2012, he said. He didn’t run in last year’s race.

Though his parents, who made the trip up to watch him run in his first Boston Marathon four years ago, weren’t there Monday, he said, the race was special because he was able to see his brother, Bryce Huschka.

“My brother was in town and my girlfriend [Lindsey Power] was there,” he said.

Monday’s finish marked the ninth marathon Huschka has completed, including competitions in Washington, D.C., New York City, San Diego and San Francisco. The Boston Marathon stands alone from the pack.

“It is apparent that they’ve been doing it for 118 years because everything runs so smoothly,” Huschka said. “The pride that people take in the city and the event is something that I don’t think has been replicated.”

The best part about this year’s race for Huschka was the amount of support the Boston community showed for the event after last year’s tragic events, he said.

“I think it was the way everyone sort of rallied around the event,” Huschka said. “Last year was obviously marked by tragedy, but there was a level of resolve and determination. There was such a positive atmosphere. We got back to D.C. and even my cab driver wanted to hear about it. We were listening to NPR and talking about the race, and he was so excited that an American [Meb Keflezighi] won. It just showed that a couple of bombs weren’t going to bring down one of the best road races in the world.”

The prestige of the race was one of the reasons Huschka was drawn to Boston in 2009, he said.

“Along with a lot of people who start running, you kind of get the sense that [finishing] is attainable,” Huschka said. “For some people, it represents years, certainly months, of hard training. It symbolizes obtaining some sort of goal. After I ran my first marathon, I thought I could probably qualify for Boston if I trained, and I ended up qualifying in Seattle in 2009 by about a minute.”

While he wasn’t thrilled with his finishing time Monday, Huschka said, the Boston Marathon is no easy course to complete.

“It is a grueling course ... not the kind that you want to go out and set a personal best,” he said. “The first five miles or so are basically all down hill and the course almost begs you into going out hard and you get out about 15 or 16 miles into Newton and you start hitting all the hills, the most famous being ‘Heartbreak Hill,’ and your legs are just gassed.”

Despite the physical stress, Huschka plans to return to the Boston Marathon — to run or maybe just watch.

“I’ll definitely be back,” he said. “I don’t know that I’ll go every year, but every three to four years at least I’ll be back for the race. I do want to go back sometime and watch. I don’t think they’ll be able to keep me away for more than a three- or four-year period.”

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