Far from ideal, but a blast, nonetheless.
That’s how 31-year-old Tyler Rogers of Williams Lake described his experience this past April when he joined 35,000 other runners at this year’s world famous Boston Marathon in what turned out to be less than stellar weather conditions.
“It was zero degrees and almost snowing at the start,” Rogers said, adding a torrential downpour pounded competitors — many of whom struggled with hypothermia — throughout the event’s 42 kilometres through downtown Beantown. “By the time we reached the finish line it was four degrees.”
That said, it’s something Rogers had been wanting to knock off his bucket list since he started taking the sport seriously in 2012 while living in Vancouver.
“I ran when I was younger, but I started running to get back into shape, to start,” he said. “After about three years of running I was looking to make some friends [in the sport] and joined a run crew and that’s when I got a little more serious.”
He then set a goal for himself to qualify for the Boston Marathon by the age of 30.
As part of a run crew in East Vancouver, he met his girlfriend, Holly Geddert, of Likely.
“We moved back here together [in the summer] of 2017,” said Rogers, who now works for BC Hydro in the area.
To qualify for the Boston Marathon, different from the other six major marathons held throughout the world, participants must post a qualifying standard time based on their gender and age.
“You have to run a course that’s a certified marathon for your qualifying time,” he said.
In May of 2017, Rogers did just that, qualifying at a marathon in Eugene, Oregon, in a time of three hours, one minute and nine seconds.
The minimum time to qualify for the Boston Marathon was three hours and five minutes, however, depending on how many applicants the race receives, the qualifying time becomes faster.
“I got in by 27 seconds after that,” he said. “The qualifying time was the fastest it’s ever been. My other friend, Tyler Sparrow (Burnaby) — we ran together — and he was starting to struggle the last five or six kilometres, so he told me to go on. He ended up being one or two seconds out from qualifying.”
From there, Rogers continued training alongside Geddert by road running and trail running in preparation for the race, which is always held on the third Monday in April to coincide with Patriot’s Day in the U.S.
“There’s a lot of excitement, because it’s been around so long the whole city celebrates around that day,” Rogers said, noting the first Boston Marathon took place in 1897 — one year after the first Olympics took place.
“But the day of the race, it was just miserable — the weather was below freezing at the start.”
Runners battled through the course, which received close to 20 millimetres of rain, and that day went down in history as the coldest Boston Marathon in the past 30 years.
Despite the cold, Rogers said spectators still lined the sidelines of the course to cheer on the participants, including Geddert, who had ran the marathon the year prior in 2016.
“I finished in three hours, 14 minutes and 30 seconds, so a bit slower than my qualifying time but we had a bit of a tough time training here in February because of all the snow,” he said. “It ended up being the slowest winning time since 1977.”
All told, Rogers couldn’t have been more pleased knocking the Boston Marathon off his bucket list.
“The atmosphere when you’re doing the race — there’s something that feels good about it, and all the people that are there,” he said.
Now settling into their home at 150 Mile House, Rogers and Geddert have been doing a lot more trail running due to the vast number of trails in the region to take advantage of.
“Living here I can see myself doing a lot more trail running,” he said.
“And the other thing is there’s such an amazing running community in Williams Lake.”
In the future, Rogers and Geddert said they’ve set a goal for themselves to run in each of the six world majors. They’ve already ran Boston and Berlin, which leaves Chicago, Tokyo, New York and London.