By Julie McCay Turner
Christopher Kovalchick started distance running as a CalTech graduate student when his study partners suggested that he join them in running an upcoming half-marathon. The race was just six weeks off, and Kovalchick had never raced before. He finished that race although it was “tough,” and has now run more than a dozen full marathons. Monday’s race will mark his sixth run in Boston.
Running requires a mindset more than a particular body type, Kovalchick says, and Bedford is prime country for runners. Trails through Hartwell Town Forest and local conservation land, proximity to multiple Rail Trails, and nearby Minuteman National Park drew Kovalchick and his wife Emily to town. Now that they’re here, Bedford’s neighborly, small-town connectivity make it clear that they would hate to leave.
Because of an injury Kovalchick considered skipping Boston this year, but thanks to the Achilles Foundation, www.achillesinternational.org, his “slower” time will benefit two other runners.
Kovalchick is partnered with Don Balcom of Hollywood, Maryland, a runner with 10% vision who is working to qualify for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janiero. “I will pace [Don] from the start through halfway point,” Kovalchick said. The pair plans to arrive at mile 13.1 in just under an hour and a half (1h25m, to be specific), then another Achilles Foundation partner will take over and run to Boston with Balcom.
Waiting in Wellesley for about 6 minutes, Kovalchick will then partner with a friend from California who hopes to run a 3 hour 1 minute race and they’ll run together to the finish. “If you see my 25K split look very slow,” Kovalchick noted, “it’s because I’ll be standing and waiting for that 6 minute period.”
The Boston Athletic Association has an app for checking up to 10 runners during the race. Click https://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/participant-information/baa-boston-marathon-mobile-app.aspx for downloading instructions and you can follow your favorite Bedford’s runners.
Wearing bib number 389 Kovalchick will be among the first wave of runners departing Hopkinton when the starting gun sounds at 10 am. Other Bedford runners and their bib numbers are Michael Hakky, 5377; Robert Froehlich, 6289; Tara Capobianco, 8806; Laura J. McGinness, 20540; Lisa Paiva, 25708; Gabriel Tkacik, 26626; Brian Smith, 27192; William F. Simons, 27816; Sakthi Angappamudali, 29539; Jonathan M. Kohler, 29671; Rosemary H. Miley, 29754; Marisa Little, 30292; and Addie Hurwitz, 30498.
According to the BAA website, bib numbers are color coded according to departure time:
- Bibs 101 to 7,700 are red, and assigned to Wave 1, leaving Hopkinton at 10 am
- Bibs 8,000 to 15,600 are white, and assigned to Wave 2 leaving Hopkinton at 10:25 am
- Bibs 16,000 to 23,600 are blue, and assigned to Wave 3 leaving Hopkinton at 10:50 am; and
- Bibs 24,000 to 32,500 are yellow, and assigned to Wave 4 leaving Hopkinton at 11:15 am.
Watch The Bedford Citizen for our resident runners’ Marathon results on Monday.