Broken Bow resident tests endurance in Boston Marathon
Broken Bow resident and Arrow Seed employee Todd Vleiger was one of the participants in the Boston Marathon this past April.
Close to 27,000 runners, joggers, walkers and wheelchair racers gathered for the 115th Boston Marathon ran April 18. One of the 27,000 people adding some local flavor was Broken Bow resident Todd Vleiger.
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Vleiger is often asked why he runs. His answer is short and simple: ‚ÄúI just love to run.‚ÄĚ
Running is something that‚Äôs been a part of the Vleiger family for as long as he can remember.
‚ÄúI started running because my dad and brother were running, ‚Äúsaid Vleiger. ‚Äú As long as I can remember, my dad and brother ran and I enjoyed it as much as they did. It was something we could do together.‚ÄĚ
Because of his love of running, the Mitchell, S.D. native accepted a scholarship to run track and cross country at South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D. which currently competes at the Division I level.
He competed as a Jackrabbit for four years and he earned various accolades including being named to the Summit League‚Äôs All-Academic team and in the process earning two varsity letters. Even though his college career was over that didn‚Äôt mean he was going to stop running.
Shortly after graduating with a bachelor‚Äôs degree in horticulture and agronomy he moved to Broken Bow and accepted a job at Arrow Seed. Just like any other former intercollegiate athlete Vleiger wanted to continue participating in the sport he‚Äôs grown to love. This is when the streets of Broken Bow and the surrounding area became Vleiger‚Äôs personal playground.
‚ÄúOn average I run between 60 and 80 miles a week,‚ÄĚ Vleiger said. ‚ÄúThe only time it was hard for me to run was in the winter, but I just had to tough it out. I‚Äôve always looked at challenging myself and pursuing new goals in life and I thought running in an event that‚Äôs prestigious like the Boston Marathon would be cool.‚ÄĚ
One just can‚Äôt decide they‚Äôre going to run the Boston Marathon. In order to qualify for the Boston Marathon a prospective participant must compete in at least one prior marathon and finish the race under three hours. Last spring he competed in the Omaha Marathon finishing with a time of two hours and forty-five minutes, qualifying for the Boston Marathon with 15 minutes to spare.
‚ÄúThe Omaha Marathon was just to test me. I knew I could always finish a marathon under three hours, but just to do it was a sense of relief because then I knew I could do it,‚ÄĚ he said.
After he qualified for the Boston Marathon he started to push himself harder in training.
‚ÄúI started to seriously train for the marathon about 16 weeks beforehand. I ran a total of four 20 milers and aggressively trained, ‚ÄúVleiger said. ‚Äú I did learn that it takes at least two, maybe three different pairs of shoes to train. ‚Äú
In the week leading up to the marathon he eased his training and felt prepared to run.
‚ÄúI was comfortable where I was at. The last one to two weeks of training is more about not tiring yourself out. It‚Äôs important to be healthy and energized because a marathon takes a heavy toll on your body,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúBut I was ready!‚ÄĚ
As the race started, Vleiger felt comfortable. His pace was just where he wanted it. The hardest part of the race was around the 15 to 18 mile mark because he started to have cramps but that‚Äôs going to ‚Äúhappen to almost every runner.‚ÄĚ He crossed the finish line at two hours and fifty minutes, five minutes off his goal, but he was pleased with his time.
‚ÄúEven though I didn‚Äôt make my goal I knew I gave it everything I had. There are different variables that can change the outcome of the race and I think the most significant one was the unfamiliarity of the course,‚ÄĚ Vleiger said.
Even though he was there to race, he thought it was great to run through the different towns and points of interest along the route and the atmosphere was electric.
‚ÄúRunning by Fenway Park was probably the highlight of the course. It was just really cool to see that,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúI just felt so lucky to experience the atmosphere, it was surreal.‚ÄĚ
Vleiger does plan to partake in a marathon again in the future, but he‚Äôs going to take the rest of the year off before he starts to think about running the 26.2 miles again.
‚ÄúThe process of training and participating in a marathon can zap some of your energy. But I love to run and I will run in a marathon again.‚ÄĚ