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Fingerlakes runners prepare for Boston Marathon

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The end of the 26.2 mile race is nearing and David Weiss is pushing through every step. He started his watch incorrectly at the beginning of the race, and has no idea that he would finish 10 seconds under the qualifying time for the Boston Marathon. Since qualifying, Weis has returned to the Boston Marathon seven times, and is preparing to return for his 8th time this year. He’ll be joined by 75 other runners from the Finger Lakes region.

The 119th running of the Boston Marathon will be taking place on April 20th. The Finger Lakes Running Club (FLRC) will have members running in almost every age group of the race, and in many different levels of the race. Many of the runners will be returning to the marathon after months of preparation, though some runners have found training difficult.

Because the marathon has qualifying standards, competitors must be able to compete in other marathons and train extensively prior to the event. The harsh winter has made this difficult for some of FLRC’s runners.

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“Given the winter weather, I’ve done an awful lot of training indoors this year. I did one 20 miler inside – just round and round and round- but it’s much more fun to run outside,” David Keifer, a member of the FLRC, said. He’ll be returning to the Boston Marathon for the 7th time, making it his 16th marathon since 2016. Keifer added that he’s had to cut several of his training runs short because of the weather.

With the harsh winter, a lot of marathons have been snowed out, making Weiss feel unprepared for the Boston Marathon.

“With the amount of snow and ice- it’s mainly the ice that worries me, I haven’t gotten the training in,” Weiss said.

The Finger Lakes, and Ithaca especially, provide a good training scene, Ian Golden of the Finger Lakes Running and Triathlon Company said.

“Ithaca is a really good… especially for a small town,” Golden said. “There’s trails everywhere and it makes for great running.”

Despite the weather and training obstacles, 75 runners from Ithaca, Trumansburg, Dryden, Newfield and Freeville are registered for this year’s marathon. Several of them say they are drawn to the Boston marathon because of the experience it provides.

“I love the history, the challenge, the crowd support and the feeling of being a part of something unique,” Lorrie Tily, former president and current member of the FLRC said. “Boston is most marathoners dream event. It takes a lot of hard work, determination and talent to get in. It is the ultimate goal.”

Following the bombing at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, Weiss said the marathon had a different feel.

“Last year, when I ran it, there were more people out on the course- more spectators. There was more personal connection of people thanking us for coming back and thanking us for taking back our streets,” said Weiss.

The race is iconic, Laurel McIntyre, who is returning to the Boston Marathon for her second time, said. It’s special to have the opportunity to go to compete in the marathon because of all those who come out and support the race’s history, she said.

The Boston Marathon is Keifer’s favorite marathon, but he said last year’s race was special.

“Last year’s Boston Marathon was the first year after the bombing and it was like three days of celebration- the city and the runners taking back the premiere event that represents Boston,” Keifer said.

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