The thrill of competition is a driving force behind any athletic accomplishment. Regardless of whether the competition is another, or oneself.
For Davis Middle School P.E. and Health teacher Crissy Ivey, running is a source of enjoyment and relaxation.
For the former Johnson High basketball player, running is one of the only forms of athletic competition she has left.
“You can’t always go out and pick up a ball and play a game,” Ivey said. “But you can always go put some running shoes on a go for a run.”
It was about a year and half ago that Ivey took her source of enjoyment one step further, and began competing in it, with a goal to run the Atlanta Marathon on Thanksgiving Day 2008.
“I started running with some ladies on Saturday mornings just for fitness,” Ivey said. “They had done marathons in the past and got me started (thinking about doing one). I liked the idea of competing against my time to beat myself each race.”
It isn’t just your everyday runner, however, who can lace up some sneakers for her first marathon and qualify for one of the most prestigious races in the country: the Boston Marathon.
Ivey set her qualifying time by running the 26.2 -mile Atlanta Marathon course in three hours and 30 minutes, about an eight-minute per mile pace.
Impressive yet is that Ivey ran that pace on a hilly course, one that includes a steady gain in elevation from mile 22 to 25.
“People don’t go to Atlanta to qualify for Boston,” Ivey said. “It’s too hilly of a course.”
And she didn’t go with Boston in mind. It was only after the race that Ivey realized her time met the high standards that the Boston Athletic Association requires for entry into today’s race.
“Within a week, I got my stuff to Boston and heard back from them pretty quickly, saying I was in the race,” Ivey said.
The Boston Marathon is open to all runners who complete an approved marathon course within the Association’s time limits, which are based on age and gender.
In Ivey’s case, as a 29-year-old female, 3:40.59 - a time she bested by 10 minutes - is the qualifying standard.
“(Marathons are) a challenge,” Ivey said. “You never know what your bodies going to do, and you hit walls.
“It’s physical, mental and spiritual and I like knowing that I’m up for the challenge.”
Today’s challenge, which begins in Hopkinton, Mass., at 10 a.m., includes as many as 500,000 observers, the famed Wellesley College scream tunnel and the original Heartbreak Hill.
The Boston Marathon will finish just in time for those leaving the Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles game to cheer on the runners as they enter the final mile.
It’s a Patriot’s Day tradition in Boston that the Red Sox have an early game time to allow their fans to also be fans of the city’s
“There’s such a rich history with this race,” Ivey said. “I would like to do well, but really just want to go for the experience.”