JC marathoners finish Boston race a year after tragedy

Patty Burmeister and fellow Jefferson Citian Dana Frese stand together after completing the Boston Marathon.

Patty Burmeister and fellow Jefferson Citian Dana Frese stand together after completing the Boston Marathon.

An unexpectedly warm day heightened the level of difficulty for runners of the Boston Marathon on Monday, but both Jefferson City competitors finished the race.

Dana Frese finished the race in 3 hours, 41 minutes, according to his own watch. Last year he finished in 3 hours, 25 minutes, he said.

First-timer Patty Burmeister finished in 4 hours, 25 minutes.

Frese has now completed the race five times. He said this year was the toughest.

“Everyone who finished today is a warrior, because the race was very difficult,” Frese said. “The heat was a factor. A lot of people were seeking medical attention.”

Frese also struggled with leg cramps and other muscle cramps.

“I was nursing a sore right leg,” he lamented. “I had a feeling it was going to be challenging, because I was not 100 percent going in.”

When he finished the race, he only had a short walk — about a tenth of a mile — to his hotel. (Last year he could see smoke from the two bombs from the same hotel.)

But after 26.2 long miles, getting to his hotel room from the finish line seemed like another marathon in itself. He collapsed onto the lobby’s carpet. Another fellow runner was throwing up nearby.

“I had to sit down in the elevator twice,” Frese said.

A good Samaritan — a youthful emergency responder — came to his aid and escorted him upstairs. Once there, he was able to lay down and sooth his sore legs with some ice. Some salty potato chips restored him.

“I was so dehydrated and faint,” he said.

Burmeister was elated to finish the race.

“It was hot,” she exclaimed. “But there was so much love from the crowd. People were cheering us on like we were all champions or long-lost relatives. People were five-deep on both sides of the street in some places.”

Like Frese, Burmeister was sore as well. Both runners mentioned their quadriceps were particularly sore.

“I’m pleased with myself,” she said. “I pushed through so hard. But I smiled the whole time and tried not to think about the pain.”

Burmeister was glad to have finished, although she said she ran almost an hour longer than she intended.

“I didn’t hit ‘the wall,’” she said, referring to that moment when a runner’s excess stores of energy are gone and the body is forced to shift to a slower pace. “But it was tough.”

Frese said the law enforcement presence along the race course was massive on Monday.

“I never once was concerned about my safety,” he said. “I just want to thank the police officers, the firefighters and the emergency responders. They did an unbelievable job.”

Frese ran in the second flight of runners, which left at 10:25 a.m.

Early in the race, runners face some deceptive downhill challenges that “beat runners legs to a pulp,” Frese said. By mile 16, the racers must cope with some serious hills.

“My legs were not responding like I’d hoped. I was on pace until mile 18, but my legs wouldn’t let me go any faster,” he said, despite training on similarly sized hills along Missouri 179 and Route C in Cole County. “Aerobically I was okay.”

Overall, he was pleased with his performance.

“I trained hard. I did well. I’m fortunate I was able to run and finish. It’s a great sense of accomplishment. When they hand you that big medal, it makes it all worth it.”

He was glad to run on Monday, but said he probably won’t compete next year.

“It’s an expensive trip and other races have some appeal to me,” he said. “But I’ll return for my sixth someday.”

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