Covington residents Brent Fields and Tracey Ashall returned last week from the 2014 Boston Marathon, returning from the world’s oldest continuous marathon event with a renewed sense of pride.
While American Meb Keflezighi brought home a first place finish for the USA for the first time since 1983, Fields and Ashall said their experiences couldn’t have been better.
Ashall set a new personal record, finishing the marathon in 3:23.33, while Fields posted a time of 2:47.57.
“I was ecstatic with my … finish time, beating my personal record from last year at Boston by over six minutes,” Ashall said. “I was training for a 3:25, so this was an utter shock to finish two minutes faster than I was aiming for.”
Fields said that he believed the crowd and the importance of the race after last year’s terrorist attack.
“The more I think about it, the more apparent it is to me that the atmosphere and the spirit of the race contributed to many of the runners running great,” Fields said. “There were a lot of great runs on Monday. Ninty-eight percent of the runners finished.
“It was a wonder experience that I am so blessed to have been in,” he said.
Ashall said that while the race was grueling, she was inspired by Fields and her trainer, Mark Peace, who she trained with for 16 weeks before the marathon.
“It was a humbling experience,” Ashall said. “Around the 16-mile mark my right calf started cramping up … there were tough times during the course that your body goes through – different pains, barriers – but, at one point I looked at a guy at about the 23-mile mark running with just one leg and on crutches. He was going pretty
darn fast and I said to myself, ‘What excuse do I have?’
“Coming into the finish line brought on overwhelming emotions,” she said. “I was welling with tears crossing the finish line.”
Ashall said as she touched the finish line, she hugged another runner, and called her husband and running partner and cried.
The Boston Marathon will return next season on April 20.