SCOTSBURN – Overwhelming – but in a good way – is just one way Janet Fraser described how she felt as she ran her first Boston Marathon this year.
Whether it was the wall of spectators for the entire course, a group on mini-trampolines cheering runners on or the scoreboard put in place on the route to keep runners up-to-date on a baseball game, she soaked it all in.
“I found it so amazing,” she said. “The road was so full of people. It was like a wall of colours for the entire run. You couldn’t tell if or where there was a break in people.
“I just wanted to soak that all in because it’s probably the one time I’ll do it. I wasn’t focused on my time so I wouldn’t miss anything around me.”
Fraser, who started running in 1998 at the Jimmy Hawboldt Labour Day 5-mile race, has qualified for Boston multiple times, but the extra push from her daughter Gayle and husband Gary is what made her decide to attend this year.
“Both my husband and daughter said I had to do it, that I can’t not do it,” said Fraser. “It takes a lot of work to qualify and you never know what can happen from year to year. You always think maybe another year, but this year was the year to do it.”
She is more than happy she made that decision, especially with both of them there with her.
“It was far more over the moon than I anticipated,” she said. “The people were so inspirational and when you finished people were thanking you for running their marathon because it means a lot to them. I didn’t expect that at all.”
Now with that experience as a runner on the world stage, Fraser is looking forward to running this weekend’s Johnny Miles Marathon here at home. She ran her first in 2000 with Kathy Saulnier and has run roughly a dozen since.
“The training (for the first one) was so much fun I had no doubts I could finish,” she said. “When we got close to the end I knew I was going to make it. That rush was so unbelievable.”
It’s that rush of finishing a run and the friendships she has made that have enriched her love of the sport.
Fraser and her husband have also enjoyed helping people get involved through the Learn to Run program at the YMCA. Although they don’t run that official program anymore she still enjoys helping people get started in the sport, which she had the opportunity to do by running the Miss Miles Mother’s Day 5k Classic with a friend who had never run a 5k event before.
“I haven’t really thought that far ahead,” said Fraser about her future running goals. “Right now I’m interested in helping other people out. I’ve done the Learn to Run to help people learn how to pace themselves and what to do at the beginning, middle and end of a run. I want to do more of that right now.”
This weekend’s full marathon starts at 8 a.m. Fraser said since she normally only focuses on the Johnny Miles and doesn’t run other marathons so close to the July event, that she will be out for a “fun run.”
“There is no goal for this one,” she said. “Usually it’s (my goal) four hours, but I just want to be out doing it this year and have fun.”
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