While putting a story together about Philomath graduates Megan Hutchinson and Josh Seekatz and their participation in this year’s Boston Marathon, I realized there was just too much information from my interviews with them to include in the feature. I needed to cut it down in length.
The following is a fun story that Seekatz told me about his first-ever marathon, which he ran as part of his senior project at Philomath High. He had broken his foot during the summer of 2010 on a run and then broke it again in a soccer game that fall.
“The idea behind my senior project was to research what kind of shoes I should get, build strength and have a training plan where I’m incorporating cross training so I don’t do too much mileage and then do a marathon,” Seekatz said.
The marathon was a trail run near Bend and Seekatz admitted he might’ve been a little overconfident heading into it.
“It’s what you’d expect from a 17-year-old that thinks they’re a super good runner,” Seekatz said. “It was a really fun course and the first six miles or so, it was rolling trails and I was just having a ton of fun and running super fast and I was like ‘oh man, I’m going to crush this course record. This is nothing, marathons are easy.’”
The course took runners up more than 2,000 feet of elevation gain from miles seven to 13 or 14, he said. On the way down on the other side, runners went onto a single track but couldn’t coast with the need to watch their feet.
“A funny tidbit on that was I didn’t drink any water or Gatorade or anything at the aid stations because I couldn’t figure out how to drink water without slowing down,” he said. “My headstrong 17-year-old self said ‘you don’t need that, just keep on running because you don’t want to slow down.’”
By the 20th mile, Seekatz said “every step was excruciating” — although he still ended up placing around fourth or so.
His finish in the race had a humorous twist.
“I just had no comprehension of my distance at that point because I didn’t run with a watch or anything,” he said. “There was a point where I stopped at an aid station — it was about a half-mile from the finish.
“I didn’t know I was so close to the finish because you came out of this single track and then the finish was off to the left and you’re just turning in the opposite direction of it,” he continued. “I ate like a half-dozen packets of gummies and like 15 cups of Gatorade and easily spent like five minutes there and then trotted on my way.”
Oh well, those first marathons are apparently a learning experience in many different ways.