Boston baby: Ryan set for Beantown marathon
Local Boston runners
Janesville—Joy Carr, Debra Cross, Lisa Dambach, Austin Evert, Sue Gray, Jim Hutchinson, J.T. McCrone, Sue McCrone, Francis R. Russo, Tobin Ryan, Michael Scott, Rebecca Suehring, Anne T. Thatcher
Milton—Alison Kyle, Michael Roherty, Larry Stall
Elkhorn—Rachel Paape, Paul Schafer
Lake Geneva—Nathan Lebak
JANESVILLE It’s all in the head.
Running a marathon successfully is as much about the mind as it is the body.
On Patriot’s Day this Monday, Janesville native Tobin Ryan, 46, makes his debut in the storied Boston Marathon, a 26-mile, 385-yard run from Hopkinton to Copley Square.
The historic run attracts nearly 30,000 participants. Ryan is happy to be one.
“I’ll be one of 28,000 people (running),’’ said Ryan, whose younger brother is Wisconsin First District Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). “I’m really excited. I should be nervous, but I’m not.’’
Ryan’s cool head may stem from support he receives from training partners that include Jim Hutchinson, who is appearing in his 10th Boston.
The 60-year-old Hutchinson knows the importance of having a little help from your friends.
“It’s mental preparation beyond the physical,” Hutchinson said. “To run with a group, it gives you a lot of mental support that you don’t get when you run alone.’’
Ryan, Hutchinson, Kelly Mattingly, Brian Donnelly, Marc Pappendieck, Fred Bradley and Ann Thatcher meet for weekly runs. The group trades barbs and advice.
Donnelly and Thatcher are joining Hutchinson and Ryan for this year’s Boston. Only Bradley has yet to run Boston.
“We support and push each other,’’ Hutchinson said. “We got a whole list for things for Tobin to be comfortable.’’
A cross country runner in high school, Ryan, a 1983 Janesville Craig graduate took up triathlons in the past decade.
“I ran cross country at Craig, but that was many moons ago,” Ryan said. “I never ran to just to run in races.’’
Ryan focused on the bicycle and swimming.
“I did a handful of half ironmen, Olympic length (triathlons) and sprints,” Ryan said. “My focus on running was different. I spent most of my time biking and swimming.’’
But when persuaded to run a trail marathon, Ryan’s focused changed. After eight weeks of training, Ryan covered Oklahoma terrain in 3 hours, 57 minutes.
Ryan’s training pals reasoned a 3:57 clocking over rough terrain boils down to a 3:30 on the smooth road—good enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Ryan started thinking like a marathon runner.
“I decided to put (Boston) on my bucket list,” Ryan said.
Ryan posted a Boston qualifying time in Green Bay.
“I never thought I’d run Boston,” Ryan said. “It’s pretty cool.’’
Working for a private equity firm headquartered in Los Angeles, running dovetailed with Ryan schedule.
“My job has me traveling and I can’t take a bike, but I always can take running shoes,” Ryan said. “I’ve run in Madrid, England, the California coast and the plains of Kansas.’’
Ryan won’t have to deal with the plains in Boston, but the hills in the later stages of the marathon are a deep concern.
“My big fear is mile 17 to 21’s hills,” Ryan said. “I will be appropriately nervous to hit miles 17 to 21.’’
The veteran Hutchinson said if Ryan, or any other runner has done his training, miles 17 to 21 should bring no fear.
“Doing 7.3 miles of hills in training should have you prepared for the hills in Newton,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson’s words of wisdom?
“My advice for a first-time Boston runner is do the training, enjoy (Boston) and just finish,” said Hutchinson, whose best Boston time was 2:43.39 in 1986. “It’s a great event.”
With all the help from his friends, Ryan’s head should be in the right place to enjoy a pleasant Patriot’s Day.