By John Davis
Oxford Park Commission
Most of the young runners enrolled in the Mighty Milers program who Marvin King instructs knew they didn’t have class last week because King was participating in the Boston Marathon April 15.
Even if they don’t understand just how prestigious the annual marathon is to take part in, they understood that their instructor was doing something he loved, and dreamed about, all at the same time.
“Most of them could also tell I wasn’t walking as well,” King said with a laugh Monday. “It was hard for me to keep up with them. I was limping a bit, or more shuffling along. That’s how you could describe my movements. But they did ask how I did because we missed one of our classes.”
The review King provided the kids, and others who have asked featured a lot of praise for the Boston Marathon from an experience standpoint.
“It was totally surreal. Even though I’ve run marathons before, nothing really prepares you for Boston,” King said. “Now I understand why it’s the world’s best race for marathons at least. The crowds are amazing. The volunteers are just incredible. It’s like the whole city is there to support you.”
The Boston Marathon has been in existence since 1897, and King finished the course in 3 hours, 39 minutes. King was hoping for a little better finish, but his leg cramped up 14 miles into the race.
“I jogged the rest of the way as opposed to racing, so that slowed me down, but overall, I was still pleased with the experience,” King said. “I had run a marathon in January and you’re supposed to do some long runs, 8 to 21 miles, while training for a marathon and I didn’t do enough of those. In retrospect, that’s something I wish I had done more of, but again, it’s all relative. The experience was still great even if it wasn’t the time I wanted.”
In order to run in the Boston Marathon, King had to achieve a specific qualifying time for his age group.
“Just to know that you’re in that category is satisfying. I met a lot of great, inspirational people who had done it 10, 15, 20 years in a row and that just really inspires you to think that these people have a lot of dedication and goals to come back year after year,” King said. “I just hope to join them and get back there year after year after year. You have to qualify each year and luckily, I’ve already qualified for 2020. The time I ran at the Louisiana marathon in January re-qualifies me for 2020. So I know I get to go back. I just want to get better at it and practice makes perfect. I’ve done seven marathons now and just have to do more and get better at it.”
The Boston Marathon is part of a series called the Abbott World Marathon Majors. The others that are in the series are New York, Chicago, London, Berlin and Tokyo.
“I know some who have done all six. If you’re a marathoner, those are the gold races. There are some other marathons with terrific views, where you’re in California and just running along the Pacific coast that are just incredible,” said King, who will run this Saturday in the annual Double Decker 10K. “I always do the Double Decker and the Coke 10K up in Corinth. That’s always a fun one. The Gum Tree in Tupelo, those are always in April and May. We kind of take the summers off because it is so hot and just do shorter runs. Then in the fall, you build back up again so that I’m ready to run a marathon or two.”
For anyone who is interested in running a marathon or any distance to join those from Run Oxford for one of their group runs. King serves as the Race Director of Run Oxford.
“There are all sorts of people running all sorts of distances. There is a community of people out here, so if you’re interested in running, come join us,” King said.