Brockport represented in Boston Marathon
Grad student Tim Chichester places 11th overall
Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 14:05
After running for two hours, 21 minutes and 10 seconds, College at Brockport graduate student Tim Chichester became the second American, and 11th person overall, to cross the finish line at the 116th annual Boston Marathon, held Monday, April 16.
“At the time I didn’t realize what I had accomplished,” Chichester said. “It didn’t fully sink in until I started getting calls from the local news stations.”
The Boston Marathon was Chichester’s second career marathon. In January 2011, he finished fourth in the Disney Marathon with a time of 2:32:16, well before the cutoff of 3:10:00 in his age group to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Chichester’s older brother Chris and sisters Jessica and Debbie also competed at the Disney marathon in Lake Buena Vista Fla.
Chichester credits his sisters for drawing his interest to running. Debbie, Chichester’s oldest sister, started the cross country team at his high school, Mount Morris. In his high school career, Chichester set school records in the 3200-meter, 1600-meter and the steeple chase. He also made it to states his senior year.
The night before the race, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) sent out an email to the registered runners. The email informed the competitors of the possible record-breaking heat that was expected on the day of the marathon. It also encouraged those who were not physically fit to run in these conditions, to sit the 2012 marathon out and defer their payment until next year’s event.
A little more than 4,000 people accepted the offer, leaving 22,426 runners. Although Chichester never considered dropping out of the race, he admits the email initially changed his goals and strategies.
“Before the heat warning, my goal was to qualify for the Olympic trials,” said Chichester, who would have had to finish in under 2:19:00 to qualify. “But after the warning I decided I would take it out slower and compete for place rather than time, with a goal of finishing in the top 30.”
Chichester said his plan was to run an average mile between 5:10 and 5:20. However, when the gun went off his competitive nature got the best of him. He completed the first mile in 4:40. Being an experienced runner, he realized that he needed to better control his pace and began hitting the marks he intended to.
Chichester said his confidence was in full swing when he reached the 21-mile mark. Between the 20 and 21st miles stands “Heartbreak Hill” which is notoriously known for breaking runners. While others felt the impact of the incline, Chichester used it to his advantage and gained a lot of ground on the frontrunners. Despite temperatures in the mid-80s and overall fatigue, everything was going smoothly for the Brockport grad student until he reached the 25-mile mark.
At the 25-mile mark a blister on his foot that started to form earlier in the race popped, leaving Chichester to finish the race in excruciating pain.
“It felt like I was running on one leg,” Chichester said. “But I thought about my friends and family who were supporting me. After coming this far, there was no way I wasn’t going to finish.”
Fighting the pain, he crossed the finish line with a time of 2:21:10.
Exhausted from the heat and race, how he finished was the last thing on Chichester’s mind. He immediately got his foot checked out by the first-aid tent and rehydrated with water and Gatorade. After he recovered, he attended to his bag where he opened up his cell phone to nearly 40 text messages.
The first text he read was from his mom, saying that he finished 11th overall and second-best out of any American. The rest of the texts read similar, along with congratulations.
Chichester’s friends were able to virtually follow along with his progress during the race.
Each runner wore a number and within those numbers were chips. Invisible sensors were located throughout the course and every time a runner passed a sensor it would read the chips, record the runner’s time and text it to the runner’s registered followers.
“It kept me motivated to think about my friends and family who were following me,” Chichester said. “It felt like they were right there supporting me throughout the race.”
The only American to finish before Chichester was Jason Hartmann, 31, a six-time All-American at Oregon and a Boulder, Colo. native. Hartmann finished with a time of 2:14:31.
Chichester’s sister, Jessica, finished 89th overall for the women’s division.
Chichester started training for the Boston Marathon in the summer of 2011. At the beginning of the spring 2012 semester, he began working out with the Brockport cross country, and track and field Assistant coach Pete Manktelow. Every morning they would get together to run and train.
“He was a huge motivator,” Chichester said. “I couldn’t have done it without him.”
Chichester received $2,600 for coming in 11th place, a prize that he said he plans on using to pay back school loans. In October he will be joining his older sister Debbie and younger brother Alex in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.