Boston Marathon: A dream realized for Gladstone’s Lusardi

ESCANABA – It was a triumphant return to Michigan for Lindsey Lusardi Monday night after breaking 3 1/2 hours in the 118th Annual Boston Marathon earlier in the day.

The 2011 Gladstone High School graduate covered the 26.2-mile course in three hours, 28 minutes and 48 seconds, qualifying her for next year’s event.

“It went real well,” said Lusardi, who came within two minutes of her personal best time (3:27) at the Detroit Free Press Marathon in October 2012. “The weather was great and it was such a great experience to see so many runners. I wasn’t expecting to re-qualify.”

Lusardi was among the more than 36,000 runners to line up for the start in Hopkinton, Mass.

“It was real exciting with all the anticipation,” she said on her way back to Grand Valley State University, a short time after her return flight landed in Chicago. “It was incredible seeing that many people along the course, cheering on the runners. That definitely gave me an adrenaline rush.”

This marked the fourth marathon for Lusardi, who completed the Green Bay Marathon in May 2012 and the Pittsburgh Marathon a year later.

“I had done a couple spring marathons and those helped get me ready for Boston,” said Lusardi. “Pittsburgh was a tough course with a lot of rolling hills from Mile 13 through about Mile 22. It’s not as hilly as Boston, but it helped get you into that mode.”

On Monday, Lusardi had her first opportunity to tackle Heartbreak Hill, a series of hills from Mile 16 to 21.

“Heartbreak Hill really wasn’t as bad as I expected,” she said. “Although it was a good feeling to get to the top, knowing you got through all those hills.”

Lusardi was clocked at 1:41:26 at the halfway point, meaning she covered the second half of the race in 1:47:22.

“The finish was the best part,” she said. “Once you round the corner and could see the finish (on Boylston Street), it was pretty exciting. It was really cool to kick it in. One of my friends (2012 Gladstone graduate Kyle Arvan) qualified at Columbus (Ohio) last fall. It’s cool to know I can go back and run it with him.”

Lusardi, who’s undecided about her marathon plans through the remainder of this year, attended the expo on Sunday and had a chance to become more acquainted with Boston.

“Boston is a beautiful city and the expo was enormous,” she said. “I think everyone had a lot of confidence everything would go okay despite what happened (the bombings) last year. There was a lot of security with military personnel along the course.”

Kaylyn Bernard of Escanaba was also entered in this year’s event. Details about her race, however, weren’t available.

Tracy Lokken of Marquette again was the top Upper Peninsula finisher, taking 51st overall in 2:24:39.

Additional U.P. finishers include Mark Jasper of Stephenson (2:51:42), Gregory Borzick of Marquette (3:18:33), Bob Sejbl of Ironwood (3:23:31), Amanda Jurinen of Munising (3:38:22), James Waters of Ontonagon (3:39:22), Angie Eagling of Negaunee (3:39:54), Bryan Price of Kingsford (3:48:04), Bill Sved of Marquette (4:00:35), Barbara Trudeau of Marquette (4:21:01) and Jori Thocker of Sault Ste. Marie (4:44:28).

Meb Keflezighi became the first American to win at Boston since Grand Rapids native Greg Meyer did it in 1983. He was clocked at 2:08:37, topping Kenya’s Wilson Chebet by 11 seconds on Monday.

Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo retained the women’s title in 2:18:57 and South Africa’s Ernst Van Dyk took the wheelchair division for the 10th time (1:20:36).