Maass left for Boston on Saturday and will take part in the 114th Boston Marathon April 19.
It’ll be the fourth marathon Maass has run, and the first outside Wisconsin. But if his results show something, he’s ready to go.
“I’ve run three previously, and all three were Boston qualifiers – the Fox Cities Marathon last fall and the Cellcom (Green Bay) Marathon in 2008 and 2009,” he said.
It was in the Fox Cities run that Maass qualified to run at Boston with a time of 3 hours, 6 minutes for the 26.2 mile event.
In Maass’ age group – he’s 41 – it took a time of 3:20.
His goal for Boston? “It’s to run a marathon in under three hours. If I can do that at Boston, I’m not sure,” he said.
Qualifying is necessary. The field at Boston is limited to 25,000 runners.
And while the local races draw a lot of runners, they’re nowhere near the crowd that Boston draws.
That’s a big concern for Maass.
“Especially at the start,” he said. “The biggest concern is getting my own little personal area where I’m not tripping over guys in front of me or stepping on the back of somebody’s shoes. The first 2-3 miles until the people spread out, I think, are going to be tight.”
Boston’s course is unique, starting in the small town of Hopkinton and ending in Copley Square in downtown Boston.
The course is also unusual in that it is generally downhill – but has some bite. There are four hills between miles 17 and 20, the last at mile 21 known as “Heartbreak Hill.”
Maass quoted Greg Meyer, the 1983 champion: “The hills aren’t that bad, it’s just where they come in the race.”
Although it’s his first marathon outside of Wisconsin, Maass has one thing down pat.
He managed to get a hotel room right away when registration opened for the marathon in September, and even managed to book a flight out the morning after the race.
That will get him back to his other running project these days.
He’s working with students at Rock Ledge School who are training to run in this year’s Bellin Run. He serves as a pacer, urging the kids to keep up with him.
One wonders if some of them might follow his footsteps, someday, to Boston.