NEW CASTLE —
Doug Petrik was just trying to focus.
However, 90-plus degree heat and mile after mile of unfamiliar territory surrounded him.
At the same time he was battling dehydration and soreness, he was in awe — he was running in the 2012 Boston Marathon.
Not only was he one of the 22,480 runners to start the race, the Enon Valley native was among the 21,606 to cross the finish line.
He did it in a big way, too.
The 30-year-old New Castle resident finished in the top one percent of runners in 2:50:25, which placed him 173rd in his age group (18-36) and 222nd overall. Kenya’s Wesley Korir won the race in 2:12:40.
“That’s the 116th running of that race. You think about all the people who have run it in the past, all the people you read about and all the great history. I was running on the same course and seeing the same things. I just tried to take it all in,” he said. “But, at same time, you try to stay focused on what you’re doing.
“That’s my fastest marathon time and it was in 90-degree heat. They had a huge heat wave up there the day before and day of the race. A lot of people had trouble with the course. I did, too. The course was tough. You’re out there and dehydrated. You just try to do your best.”
The heat may have been the biggest obstacle for many as they maneuvered through the crowd-lined Boston streets.
“The Boston Athletic Association gave us a lot of hydration tips. On the course, they had water and Gatorade stops. You just had to hydrate as much as possible,” Petrik said. “About two weeks leading up to it, I drank about 80 ounces of water per day. We had a pretty warm March here, so that prepared me for it a little bit. I felt like I had a little bit of an advantage.”
It was Petrik’s third marathon, but he competes in many local races. A registered nurse and exercise physiologist for the Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease at Jameson Hospital, Petrik is director of the “Run For Your Heart” race in New Castle. He qualified for the Boston Marathon based on his finish in last year’s Pittsburgh Marathon and was very thankful for the support he received.
“I got numerous texts and phone calls. The support form everyone back home and the hospital was great,” he said. “They really helped me out a lot giving me a lot of encouragement and positive feedback. They sent me off in nice way. When you reach mile 23 and your legs are dead, the only thing you think is that you don’t want to let those people down.”
Petrik, who is skipping this year’s Pittsburgh Marathon, hopes to return to the Boston Marathon next year.
“Just going up and being a part of that and taking in the whole experience was great,” he said. “It’s the oldest marathon in North America. It’s just an honor to be there and an honor to run it. Running down Boylston Street and just going as hard as you can for the last 600 meters and seeing that big finish line — there’s nothing like it. Everybody up there was great. They congratulated you whether they knew you or not.”
NEW CASTLE —
Doug Petrik was just trying to focus.
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