Local News

April 23, 2014

Taking the race back

Cohutta man runs again in Boston Marathon

Dean Thompson didn’t go 100 yards in his 26.2 miles through the streets of Boston without seeing people on the side of the road cheering for him.

The 48-year-old from Cohutta ran the Boston Marathon on Monday, a little more than a year after a bombing at the race’s finish line in 2013 killed three people and wounded several hundred others.

Thompson ran the marathon in 2012 but couldn’t make it last year. But he knew he was going back this year to mark the “special” year.

“As they told us at the start of the race, we took our race back this year,” he said. “We’re not going to not do things just because we’ve got idiots out there.”

Race director Dave McGillivray told participants it had been a long year, according to the Boston Globe.

“We’re taking back our race today,” McGillivray said. “We’re taking back the finish line.”

Some 36,000 ran this year’s race, 9,000 more than in 2013.

Thompson said it was much more crowded this year than when he ran in the race two years ago.

“There were a lot of people who wanted to support and wanted to prove you can’t do that to us,” he said. “You’re not going to slow us down.”

He heard there would be more than a million spectators for this year’s race.

“It was fantastic,” Thompson said. “There were so many people on the course.”

He said people saw his Run for God gear and were cheering him on by yelling the words.

“It was so neat,” Thompson said. Run for God is a program that combines Bible study with helping people train for races.

After the race, many people came up to him and congratulated him on finishing, he said.

Though Thompson finished 870th overall, 824th among men and 35th in his age division, he didn’t do as well as he had hoped. He has been having trouble with tightness in his hip, which slowed him down.

“I was fortunate to finish where I did,” he said. “I think God helped me through it. Even though logically I shouldn’t have been able to make it, it was great to cross the finish line.”

This was Thompson’s eighth marathon overall and he has plans to begin training for a triathlon, which he will compete in in October. He says a triathlon is one of his “bucket list” items. A triathlon involves running, cycling and swimming one after the other over various distances.

To train for the Boston Marathon, Thompson ran every day for the past year-and-a-half.

“The running community is so great because everybody supports everybody,” he said. “God’s given me great abilities. I love watching the folks that are just new to running. ... Take someone who is going to run a 30-minute 5K and someone who is going to run a 16-minute 5K and they share a deep bond.”

Thompson said more so than anywhere else, people in Boston seem to have a deep appreciation for runners and “what it takes to train and participate in a marathon.”

“It means a lot to hear those heartfelt congratulations,” he said.

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