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Deltaville man trains for Boston Marathon

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Jamie Somerville of Deltaville displays the participant race medals he has earned during his racing career.

by Tom Chillemi

Jamie Somerville always liked playing basketball. But he soon found it hard to round up 10 guys to get up a game.

His wife suggested running, because all he’d need was a pair of shoes. “Running? I hate running!” was Somerville’s reply, but he gave it a try. And, when he got passed while competing in his first race, a fire was lit inside him.

That was 5 years ago. Since then he has run in three true marathons, always improving his time. Last Labor Day in his home state of Michigan he ran the 26.2-mile marathon in 3 hours and 2 minutes—good enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which requires a time under 3 hours, 5 minutes for Jamie’s age bracket.

“Boston is really the historic marathon,” said Somerville. “It’s kind of ‘the’ marathon, and it’s the only marathon that you have to qualify for.”

Just qualifying means instant respect. Some of the best runners from around the world, including Olympic medalists, will be competing in Boston on April 21. “It’s a humbling experience,” said Somerville, who just turned 30.

The Boston Marathon attracted more than 22,000 runners in 2012. It’s run on Patriot’s Day when Bean Town is crowded with people cheering on the runners. It will be an epic day for Somerville. “When you put a lot into something you want it to pay off. Who knows when I’ll be able to do it again.”

Somerville’s goal will be to run the distance in under 3 hours—a very respectable time. “The best runners, called ‘elites,’ run the 26.2 miles in 2 hours, 5 minutes—about as fast as most people can sprint,” he said.
For him to run the marathon in under 3 hours, he’ll need to sustain a pace of 6 minutes, 52 seconds per mile. 

In a half-marathon, pace isn’t a problem and he runs 6-minute miles.

“If you can burn yourself up, in as little as a mile, you will pay for it,” he said. Runners call it “hitting the wall” and it usually happens at about between mile 18 to 20. “People get so excited at Boston, they’ll run a little faster than they should and that’s a good way to end up walking across the finish line.”

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 03.27.2013

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