>> Friday, April 24, 2015
Do you know Derek Yorek? If you watched the Boston Marathon coverage, you probably saw him for a few minutes. Yorek is a 31-year-old father of 2 who wanted to be seen on TV so his little girls back home in Texas could see their daddy racing. Here are some bits from a Runner's World article that's been going around:
For a glorious five minutes and 30 seconds, a dad from Fort Worth, Texas, led the Boston Marathon. For a miserable two hours and 59 minutes, Derek Yorek suffered to finish it.
“That was horrible,” Yorek cried after crossing the finish line in 3:04:57. He let out a few audible groans before getting a water bottle. It’s the reaction of a guy who ran one mile in 4:38 - close to the limit of his aerobic capacity - then had to trudge through another 25.2 in the rain.
He ran the first 5K in 16:18. And then got out of everyone else's way:
“I wanted to respect the race,” he says. “I knew I was fast enough that I wouldn’t blow up.”
Yorek planned on leading the Boston Marathon as soon as he registered. He wanted to give his five-year-old and two-year-old daughters an unforgettable memory. He also wanted to say thanks to his friends, family, and coaches back in Texas.
“It was something very special that I will be able to hold onto forever,” he says.
Not everyone can be in Yorek's position. He had to qualify to start in the first wave, and have enough fitness to stay with the elites before stepping aside - a fact he was well aware of before executing his plan.
This could have turned into a story of this guy being an ass, but he knew his role. He didn't seem to interfere or impede the elites in any way. But he got to make some personal history. Good for him. And he noted what it was like to run with some of the best distance runners in the world: “Their rhythm is amazing. They weren’t hurting at all. They are doing an amazing thing.” But after those first few minutes, things got pretty rough for Yorek:
... As the lead pack glided to sub 2:15 finishes, Yorek struggled to reach mile 14. There, he saw his mom and sister with tears in their eyes - ecstatic they got to see him lead the race on the live stream on their phones.
“I knew I had to finish it when I saw them,” he says.
On paper, Yorek’s race was a tactical disaster: 3,571 people passed him, he ran his last 5K nine minutes slower than his first, and he finished more than 30 minutes slower than his personal best.
But he doesn’t care. That’s because even though the announcers didn’t know the name of the guy leading the race after the first mile, two little girls back home in Texas did.
This is awesome. Now, how many times will we see this trying to be repeated in the future?...
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