Boettcher, Barsness windblown in Boston
On the eve of the Boston Marathon, Bernie Boettcher awoke to Mother Nature’s fury. The 44-year-old Silt resident peered out his hotel window to see quite the spectacle.”I woke up at 3 in the morning; the wind blew the window open,” Boettcher recalled. “The wind was blowing and the rain was coming in sideways, probably gusting 40 to 50 mph. Just sheets of rain.” This just a few hours before Boettcher and more than 24,000 others – including a handful of Western Slopers – were scheduled to run the granddaddy of marathons. Rattled and restless, the renowned runner lost sleep devising ways to beat the Nor’easter storm that was battering New England on its prized city’s big racing day. “This was race morning and I was thinking, ‘Oh my god, this forecast could potentially last all the way through the race,'” Boettcher said.So he went over every possible strategy and gear scenario in his head.”Getting ready for the race was almost worse than the race,” he noted. “Raining constantly, it’s hard to stay dry and warm. By the time the race rolled around, it wasn’t too bad.”Bad enough, though, to drive down times and wreak more than a fair share of havoc. So much so that Carbondale’s Jenny Barsness, who notched the third-best time among Colorado women – 3 hours, 8 minutes and 10 seconds – is glad to be back on home-state soil.”It’s just nice to be back in sunny Colorado,” she joked. But Barsness, who qualified for Boston at the fall Twin Cities Marathon (Minnesota) couldn’t be prouder of what she accomplished. “It was very cool,” the 37-year-old attorney with three kids explained. “I think, for runners, it’s kind of a Mecca. To do it is cool. It’s very historical and people are really into it. It’s many people’s goal in life to go to the Boston Marathon.” Barsness and Boettcher joined several from Glenwood and the surrounding area in tackling Boston last Monday. Boettcher, an area running juggernaut, recorded the best showing of locals. He timed in at 2:48.37 while running with Boulder-based Fleet Feet Racing team, which fell roughly two minutes short of a masters division team title. With 241 races of various distances – including about a dozen marathons – under his belt in the past 239 weeks, it’s shocking to think that this was Boettcher’s first Boston Marathon. He’s qualified a number of times in the past but never made the trip. Despite the long weekend’s monsoon-like conditions that nearly spelled the race’s cancellation and dealt racers a headwind topping 20 mph, the ultra-competitive Boettcher absolutely loathed finishing second. But he’s definitely hooked on Boston. He’ll undoubtedly return. “I’ve already e-mailed asking my teammates. I love my team. I had a fairly average day, much slower than I usually race,” he said. “I’m a little disappointed in that, especially when we found out in the end we missed the masters by 2:17. Second’s the first loser. I really hate that position.” Believe it or not, Boettcher’s run marathons in more treacherous conditions, citing a Pike’s Peak Marathon a few years back. There, he said it was so cold and miserable that if you stopped running at any point, you ran the risk of death. Other area finishers included Stephen Triebel of Glenwood, who wrapped the 26.2 road course in 3:43:11. Carbondale’s Jennifer Gee crossed the line in 3:45:28 and Annie Farris, also from Carbondale, clocked a 3:48:54. A competitor with local ties – former Garfield County deputy district attorney and current Evergreen resident Bob Weiner – placed second in the masters division with a 2:31:20.With an unmatched atmosphere and rich tradition, it’s no wonder the masses flock to the Boston Marathon. “You can’t believe the crowds,” said Boettcher, fondly repainting the scene. “It was crazy with so many people. In certain areas, there were clusters of people who went absolutely insane with cheering. Near the finish it’s a like a giant amphitheater. There’s a corridor you run down and it’s like a gauntlet. People are just screaming at the top of their lungs, the sound bouncing the skyscrapers. It’s really neat.” It’s an experience Barsness will never forget. Though the conditions weren’t ideal to contend with at the time, they only sweetened the accomplishment of completing the race.”You just feel like, ‘I’m tough; I can handle this,'” she said after returning home from her third marathon. “Looking at all the other people and thinking: ‘We are tough.’ It’s a testament to the human spirit. It sounds really corny, but the conditions were that bad.”
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