Running time is also family timeThe half marathon is represented by 214 runners and Grandma’s Marathon by 49 from Superior. Two well-known Superior families with lengthy running pedigrees will be competing tomorrow; the Heytens and McCoshen families.
The following is another “Have Fun or Get Out of the Way” column by award-winning Don Leighton and Mike Granlund and their alter egos, Lance Boyle and Billy Pirkola, which runs occasionally in The Superior Telegram.
It is thought that in 490 B.C., according to legend, the modern marathon race began when a Greek runner ran from Marathon to Athens to report the news of Greek victory over an army from Persia. (There are nasty rumors that I was alive during that first marathon. These rumors are unfounded.) The distance from Marathon to Athens was approximately 25 miles.
Fittingly, the first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896. The very next year in 1897, the Boston Marathon began as the first marathon held in the United States. Tomorrow in Duluth, one of the most prestigious marathons in the world will be held. Beginning in 1977, modest beginnings were realized with approximately 150 runners participating. This year, the event that brings millions of dollars to the local economy, will have 7,641 runners competing in the 26.2 mile run from Two Harbors to Canal Park in Duluth.
As has happened for the past three years, my entrance form was lost in the mail. It mysteriously turned up after the deadline. Something is beginning to smell fishy.
Even though I will not be competing, Superior and the surrounding communities are well represented by hundreds of runners.
The half marathon is represented by 214 runners and Grandma’s Marathon by 49 from Superior. Two well-known Superior families with lengthy running pedigrees will be competing tomorrow; the Heytens and McCoshen families.
Tim Heytens has been running forever. The 59 year-old who owns H&H Lumber ran track at Cathedral back in the 1960s. He has competed in every Grandma’s Half-Marathon with a personal best of 1:22:18. His interest in long distance running started about 30 years ago when he watched Dan Conway running the Park Point 5-mile race. Getting interested in running by watching Conway run is akin to starting to play basketball after watching Michael Jordan play basketball.
Heytens smiles when speaking of his running career.
“Running is challenging at times but is rewarding and relieves stress after work. After running and sweating, celebration time is taking a shower, unwinding and feeling relaxed. I have always been a competitive person and enjoy the interaction with others.”
Heytens will be joined by his son, Andy, and his second cousin, Angela Heytens. Andy ran track while a student at Cathedral Junior High for three years. At Superior High School, he was in cross country all four years and was all-conference for three.
Ironically, Conway was his coach.
The young Heytens attends St. Scholastica and enjoys running on Lakewalk in Duluth because of the beautiful scenery. As he prepares for his first half marathon, his is interest in running was cultivated over the years by watching his dad finish the run.
Angela has always been an active person but didn’t begin distance running until her early 20s. This will be her seventh half-marathon, beginning in 2006. This may be the year to get her time under two hours. Last year she finished in 2:03:07. One of her goals is to compete in the full sometime in the future.
A graduate in 2009 of St. Scholastica, Heytens has a Master’s of Science Degree in exercise physiology and works at Essentia Health in Duluth as a Cardiac Rehab Specialist. Two years ago, she and a friend started a running club at Four Corners School that met once a week and 40 young people learned the basics of running and staying healthy. During the Four Corners 5K Run held this last March, many of those kids competed.
So why does she run?
“Running allows me to take some time for myself, it’s peaceful, it’s energizing, and it makes me feel good that I’m doing something healthy for my body, mind and spirit. I plan on being an active, healthy person the rest of my life. It’s nice to have a family member that motivates and pushes me to do my best, so I’m thankful for that.”
Her biggest goal is “to cross the finish line before Tim. I’m confident when he is in his eighties I will be able to do that.”
Team McCoshen will be competing in the big enchilada, Grandma’s Marathon, and consists of Julie, two of her kids, Maria and Kellen, her brother Bill Stack’s kids, Willie and Alicia, and her cousin, Tom Tracy’s son, Dan. Her brother, Bill Stack, ran his first Grandma’s in 1981 and continued for 13 consecutive years. But there is more.
Julie fills us in, “There are five of us in this family that are/were distance runners and have married runners. Brother-in-law Brad Liable, husband Mike, her niece Rachael Stack, nephew Peter Banks, and this year’s “team” members all have the running gene from the Stack “Family Tree.”
Julie says, “I’d say the torch has passed in this family for running but I’m going after just one more t-shirt!”
From Marathon to Athens to Duluth. All this talk of history and running has made Lance tired. Good luck to all of the runners this weekend, and Happy Father’s Day on Sunday.
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