Amidst the 20 degree wind-chill, thousands of eager runners assemble at the starting line. They anticipate the long race which lies ahead as they prepare for the 25th anniversary of the Chicago marathon.
Among the gathering crowd are two Ball State freshmen: James Liechty and Chris Clemens. It is the first marathon for both.
Last Sunday, nearly 15 weeks before this momentous race, the two roommates were preparing themselves physically and mentally. Liechty and Clemens have followed a strict training schedule, provided to them via e-mail from the marathon organizers. It required six days of working out per week, as well as dietary suggestions.
"You only run as good as you train," Liechty said. "They send e-mails everyday and tell you what to do and you hope they know what they're talking about."
Dedicating themselves to their training has created problems balancing school work and a demanding training schedule, but each of the two runners was thankful to have the other for support during the race and training.
"It was tough the first couple of weeks," Clemens said. "Having someone else to run with makes you accountable for your training."
Rather than set a goal time, Clemens chose to enter the race with the goal of doing his best and that would be good enough for him. Liechty, on the other hand, wanted to beat his brother's time from last year, which was 3-hours, 38-minutes.
Separated by a margin of approximately six minutes, Liechty and Clemens finished 5,039 in 3:34:37 and 3,937 in 3:28:30, respectively.
Originating from the same small town, the two attended South Adams High School in Berne, Ind., where they both ran high school cross country. Dedicating themselves to their training was made more enjoyable for the two because of the scenery Muncie had to offer.
"We came from a small town, so it was a lot of fun having more places to run in Muncie," Liechty said. "Railroad tracks are fun to run on as well because you don't know where they're going to take you."
Neither of the two runners plan to discontinue running marathons, but they both feel a period of rest is in store for both of them. Clemens hopes to run another marathon within the next year and half, whereas Liechty hopes to run another as soon as spring 2003.
"I plan on running again in Nashville in April," Liechty said. "It would be a waste not to continue running because I would lose all that I have trained for."
After concluding their first marathon, the two look forward to the next 26.2 miles with positive attitudes and an ambition to compete in marathons as long as they are able to.4420"+â-¦*+â-ämarathon feature 10.17DNEditorial442SORTf+â-ä2AUDT