On Monday morning, April 15th 2013, the 117th running of the Boston Marathon began. It was a beautiful morning, sunny, blue skies and 50 degrees; ideal running conditions. Fr. Daniel Pajerski, Everest Academy Formation Director, was in the first wave of runners (based on qualifying times) that left the starting line beginning at 10:00 am. He finished the race in 3 hours and 17 minutes, about 50 minutes before the explosions occurred. We are grateful that Father is safely back with us and offer our prayers for everyone who was affected by the senseless tragedy.
Fr. Daniel qualified for the Boston Marathon by finishing the October 2012 Chicago Marathon in 3 hours and 9 minutes. The Chicago marathon was Father’s first marathon. Both the Chicago and the Boston Marathon are included in the World Marathon Majors (Tokyo [starting in 2013], Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City). In order to better understand what the Boston course is like, here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:
The Boston Marathon is considered to be one of the more difficult marathon courses because of the Newton hills, which culminate in Heartbreak Hill near Boston College.
Heartbreak Hill is an ascent over 0.4-mile between the 20 and 21-mile marks, near Boston College. It is the last of four “Newton hills”, which begin at the 16-mile mark and challenge contestants with late (if modest) climbs after the course’s general downhill trend to that point. Though Heartbreak Hill itself rises only 88 feet vertically (from an elevation of 148 feet to 236 feet), it comes in the portion of a marathon distance where muscle glycogen stores are most likely to be depleted—a phenomenon referred to by marathoners as “hitting the wall.”
It was on this hill that, in 1936, defending champion John A. “Johnny” Kelley overtook Ellison “Tarzan” Brown, giving him a consolatory pat on the shoulder as he passed. This gesture renewed the competitive drive in Brown, who rallied, pulled ahead of Kelley, and went on to win—thereby, it was said, breaking Kelley’s heart.
Fr. Daniel’s finish time at the Boston Marathon (3 hours 17 minutes) was only 8 minutes slower than his finish time at the Chicago Marathon (3 hours and 9 minutes). When you see the difference in elevation changes in Boston compared to those in Chicago, his finish time in Boston, only his second marathon, is remarkable.
But Father Daniel didn’t run the race for attention or accolades. During his months of training and during the marathon itself, he offered prayers for those whose intentions he was given. He also used the opportunity to do something he loves (running) for a vocation he loves even more (the priesthood). He collected pledges totaling $10,000 for the Legionary seminarians in Connecticut!
Father described the experience as “Physically grueling but a great sense of accomplishment!” A great accomplishment indeed!