Randy Morton, of Craig, will participate in the 2014 Boston Marathon on Monday, a year after explosions killed three and injured more than 200 at the finish line.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Randy Morton, of Craig, will participate in the 2014 Boston Marathon on Monday, a year after explosions killed three and injured more than 200 at the finish line.

Craig's Randy Morton set to run in historic Boston Marathon

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— After the devastation that rocked the finish line of the Boston Marathon a year ago, one man from Craig will be among the more than 36,000 planning to cross the finish line this year and showcase the runner’s resilience that embodies the race.

2014 Boston Marathon participants from the Yampa Valley

Stephen M. Bourgeois, Steamboat Springs

Jenny Fox, Steamboat Springs

Randy Morton, Craig

Jill Roberts, Steamboat Springs

Jennifer Schubert-Akin, Steamboat Springs

Randy Morton, 58, is looking to finish his quickest 26.2 miles yet when he runs in Boston on Monday morning, but regardless of his time, he expects an experience he won’t forget anytime soon.

Morton qualified for the Boston Marathon last year by completing a marathon in three hours, 39 minutes in 2012, but he chose not to make the trip because being part of the race wasn’t among his priorities. But after bombs went off at the finish line four hours into the race last April, killing three and injuring hundreds, Morton felt differently.

“The bombings changed everything,” he said. “It went from being an event that I felt was a so-so, as far as whether I wanted to do it, to a must. I pledged on the day of the bombing that I would run in Boston this year.”

Morton already had planned to run the Salt Lake City Marathon last year, just days after the Boston bombing occurred. After the bombing, the race turned from another marathon into his first chance to qualify for the 2014 race. He did so, breaking the 3:40 time barrier for his age group.

But with so many runners wanting to be there to support Boston this year, the race has had to force its standards even higher to keep the field manageable. Unknown to many runners, getting just under the qualifying standard wouldn’t be good enough this year.

Luckily, Morton was not one of them. He ran a 3:32 at the Tucson Marathon last October, putting him eight minutes under the qualifying time and comfortably inside the field of runners.

“There were tons of registrations this year,” Morton said. “Everywhere I’ve gone, the chatter has been all about Boston, running Boston, as opposed to New York or Chicago or basically any other marathon.”

Morton has been a runner his entire adult life but only picked up marathon running as a more serious hobby in recent years. However, he’s never competed in a race quite like what he’ll experience on the crowded streets of Boston on Monday.

“I don’t really have anything to compare it against,” he said. “The size of the field running, the size of the crowd (cheering the runners on) is much bigger than what I’ve run in.”

Morton is leaving Colorado on Saturday and said he’s excited for the whole experience but also hopes to run well while he’s there.

“I’d like to run the fastest I’ve ever ran,” he said. “A marathon can be weather-dependent, but the forecast looks good. I don’t know if running in such a big crowd will make it more difficult. I don’t want to waste energy running around people.

“I’ve been looking forward to this, more than anything else in the past year.”

Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.

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