UMFK

Runners look forward to Boston Marathon experience

Seven local runners are getting set to tackle this year’s Boston Marathon, which is taking place Monday, April 17.

The famed 26.2-mile race from Hopkinton, Mass. northeast to Boston will include Aroostook County participants Donald Audibert of Fort Kent, Kayla Buck of Mapleton, Justin Fereshetian of Mars Hill, Tracy Guerrette of St. Agatha, Richard Hoppe of Portage Lake, Thomas Wire of New Limerick and Kimberley Wright of Mapleton.

Kayla Buck

Buck, Fereshetian and Wire are competing in the event for the first time.

Buck plans to enjoy the experience in her first go-around on the course.

“I have been told it’s going to be the most entertaining miles that I have ever raced, so I plan on soaking in every last minute,” said Buck, who is employed in the eye care office at TAMC while working toward a nursing degree through the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

The former Presque Isle High School and University of Maine at Presque Isle athletic standout noted that training in freezing temperatures has been a challenge and admits she has “racked up some miles on the treadmill.”

“Running the Boston Marathon will be the pinnacle of my running career thus far, so I am looking forward to seeing the many hours and early mornings pay off,” Buck said.

One of the other Boston rookies, Fereshetian, also can’t wait for Monday to arrive.

“I’m really looking forward to the big city marathon experience, as well as getting to take part in such a historic event,” said Fereshetian, who serves as a ski coach for the Caribou-based Outdoor Sport Institute.

From left, Richard Hoppe of Portage, Kimberley Wright of Mapleton and Don Audibert of Fort Kent all placed in the top five in their age divisions at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2015. All three are getting ready to compete again, this time in the Boston Marathon April 17.
(Contributed photo)

Fereshetian’s only other marathon was at Sugarloaf Mountain in May of 2016, which usually maxes out at 800 racers. Boston is expected to feature a field of 32,500.

He will be starting in the first wave with the elite runners, in the box just behind them, and has set a strategy.

“While this is an honor, it could definitely get me in trouble being around so many other fast runners,” said Fereshetian, a Turner native who is a 2013 graduate of UMPI and competed in cross country running and Nordic skiing as a student there.

“So I will target a spot near the back of that first corral in hope of tuning out everyone else around me at the start in order to keep it conservative for the first half [of the race],” he added. “That way, hopefully, I can attack the last half and pass a lot of people when they are struggling the most.”

For Hoppe, it’s his fourth time doing Boston, while it is Wright’s third and Audibert’s sixth. The three have competed in marathons together and Hoppe and Wright often train together.

Hoppe has been running for over 30 years, but in marathons for only the last seven. Monday will be his seventh 26.2-miler, but he admits the nervous energy never goes away.

“I believe most runners that compete are a bit nervous going into these events,” said the 62-year-old. “It’s only natural and probably not a bad thing. When it comes to race day, I’m anxious to get going and start the race.

“Yes, I’m a bit apprehensive on the starting line, but I tell myself ‘the hay is in the barn’ and that I have done all the training possible and worked hard, and there is no reason I can’t do this,” Hoppe added.

The recently-retired regional wildlife biologist said for him, the “jitters” usually go away after a few miles and then “I am relaxed and do my thing.”

“I’m one of the few runners that never uses ear buds and plays music while running,” Hoppe said. “During these long marathon runs, I tend to get into zone and just run, often not realizing I am moving.”

He said he has three goals for Monday’s big event.

“My goal is first to enjoy the moment, take it all in and cross the finish line, second is to have no issues, run to have fun and execute my plan,” Hoppe said, “and third is to think about eating after the run and going out and relaxing with loved ones, family and friends.”

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