Gerrard looking for a PR in Boston Marathon encore
That’s what Ken Gerrard brings into the 114th running of the Boston Marathon on Monday.
The 53-year-old runner from South Lake Tahoe will participate in the prestigious event for the second straight year after race officials awarded him with an entry based on last year’s qualifying time.
“I jumped on top of that pretty quick,” Gerrard said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to do it again; the qualifying time is tough.”
In that introductory race to the Boston Marathon last April, Gerrard battled cramping over the final 10 miles of the course to finish in 3 hours, 51 minutes and 30 seconds, beating over half of the field of 26,000.
Besides more diligence to hydrating before the race, the Sierra House Elementary School employee plans to attack certain sections of the course more aggressively than he did as a rookie.
“I know better what to expect from the course … don’t hold back here, go harder there,” Gerrard said. “Heartbreak Hill, that’s nothing compared to what I normally run. I can give it a little more push. Last year it was like I just wanted to finish.”
Gerrard said after last year’s race that he was disappointed in his finishing time but given the cramping he dealt with, completing the 26.2-mile granddaddy of marathons was satisfying.
“It was a lifetime experience. My advice to anybody who’s even thought about it, if you can do it, do it,” Gerrard said after finishing the 2009 Boston Marathon.
On Monday, Gerrard has set his sights on breaking his personal marathon record of 3:34:03.
If he accomplishes his personal-best time, which he ran in 2008 in Sacramento, Gerrard can punch his ticket for the 2011 Boston Marathon.
“I’m going to give it everything I have. I really want to put a PR in the book,” he said.
Like it is for many marathoners, returning to Boston was the hard part for Gerrard. He was unable to train like he wanted. Gerrard’s wife, Bev, was seriously hurt when several unleashed dogs knocked her over at the “Dog Park” in Carson City. Gerrard has been caring for Bev for the past seven weeks, and she was recently cleared to travel. Gerrard also lost some training time while serving on a jury for a three-month civil case.
Gerrard had three marathons under his belt going into Boston a year ago, but this time he’s been limited to half marathons in South Lake Tahoe and Long Beach.
“It’s been a long haul to get here again,” Gerrard said. “I’ve had spotty training. Right now, it’s as good as it gets. I’ll just go out and do the best that I can.”
Gerrard’s love of running has impacted his younger brother Glen, who has dropped 25 pounds by tagging along with him.
“He’s my hero, and I’m really proud of him,” Glen said.
Editor’s note: Fans can track Gerrard’s progress Monday on the race’s Web site – bostonmarathon.org and can receive text messages and e-mails with updates. For tracking purposes, Gerrard’s bib number is 13765.
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