Dream come true on the track

Published 1:00 am Monday, April 17, 2006

By By Bruce Hixon
It has only been just only a year and a half since Buck Farrior decided to intensify his involvement with running, but he has come a long way in a short time.
The Brewton resident will go an even longer way next Monday when he and approximately 20,000 other people compete in the Boston Marathon.
"I first started running some back in the mid 1990s. I would probably run three to four miles three to four times a week," Farrior said. "I more or less got out of running for a while, but I still stayed active. I played a lot of golf, worked out at the YMCA and did some resistance training. I got told I needed to do more cardio vascular work so I got back into running. That was right after Hurricane Ivan in September of 2004," Farrior said.
Farrior's pursuit of the Boston Marathon came when he went to his son's college orientation in dental school.
"The school had a group that ran in the Boston Marathon. I thought that would be an interesting thing to pursue," Farrior said.
While most would find the three to four miles Farrior ran back in the 1990s an exhausting stretch, it is nothing compared to the Boston Marathon, which covers 26.2 miles.
"I'm not sure I the full comprehension of what I was getting into when I decided to pursue the Boston race. Former Brewton Standard publisher Bill Crist and former Jefferson Davis Community College dean of students Bill Thallemer did a lot of running, and I got some pointers from them. I also got some pointers from Hal Higdon, who published some articles on running marathons," Farrior said.
Farrior quickly built up his endurance to the point he was able to compete in the New Orleans Marathon in 2005. He ran his second marathon race back in February in Pensacola (Fla.).
While those races were open to anybody, the Boston Marathon is different. Individuals have to meet a qualifying time in order to participate.
"I'm in the age 50-54 division, and I had to have a time of 3:35.59. I qualified by 22 seconds when I ran a time of 3:35.37 at Pensacola," Farrior said.
Farrior indicated training for such a race is as much mental as it is physical.
"The mental aspect can be one of the toughest parts of the race. There are times where it seems like the race never ends, especially about the time you hit about the 20-mile mark," Farrior said. "There are a few people around the area who run. It's a lot easier to run when you're with somebody as compared to running by yourself. One individual I've trained with has been Rebecca Jordan, who won the women's division at Pensacola. I've probably worked out with her about once a week."
The 51-year-old Farrior has some ideas on what he will experience in Boston, but he also knows to expect the unexpected.
"The biggest unknown is the weather. They've had years where they have had temperatures in the 90s and other years where they have had snow falling. Probably the ideal temperature for a runner, at least for me, is about 50 degrees," Farrior said.
Farrior said a big key the Boston race is not going out of the gate too quickly.
"The first 16 miles of the race is on a downhill slope. It then starts to go uphill and at about the 21st mile there is what they call Heartbreak Hill. It is really steep. It's a big temptation to start out quickly because you start out downhill, but you also have to be able to keep some energy reserves for the upward portion of the race. A lot of people will walk up the hill," Farrior said.
Farrior hopes to run the race in under four hours.
"I think that is a good goal for me. It's very difficult for a person have their personal best time in the race because there are so many people around you. That aspect of it is going to slow a person down," Farrior.
Regardless of what happens, Farrior expects the Boston Marathon to be his last marathon race.
"Boston was my goal, and I've achieved it. I'll still stay active, but I don't foresee myself running in any more marathons," Farrior said.

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