Cochrane's Martin Parnell is looking to once again make his mark on the international scene as he prepares to run in the 2020 Boston Marathon.
Qualifying for the event at the 2019 Servus Edmonton Marathon – held Aug. 17 and 18 – Parnell took 10th place in the 42-kilometre men's age 60 to 69 category, with a chip time of 3:46:23.
"I've actually run in the Boston Marathon three times. The first time I did it was way back in 2004. I started running at the age of 47, so I was kind of late to running," he said. "I did my first marathon in Calgary in 2003, the Toronto marathon in October 2003, and I qualified for my first Boston race in 2004. I then ran it again in 2008 and a third time in 2010, during the year where I ran 250 marathons."
Parnell's qualifying time meant he cracked all the goals he set for himself for Edmonton – beating his pervious time of 4:10, overcome the four-hour target and break the 3:50 mark to qualify for Boston.
"It was perfect running conditions for me. It was overcast, a little bit of drizzle, so it was cool; and it's a really flat course, so that helped. Not a lot of hills or anything like that so I was able to run at a good pace.... They have the pace bunnies in the races, and I kind of worked myself along with them. I had a few aches and pains along the way, but I did my nutrition and hydration and was able to push my way through," he said.
"It wasn't until the final kilometre that I kind of knew that I had this and to just keep going. I basically had 10 minutes to do a kilometre and, when I got to the last 100 metres, I was able to do a little fist pump and was able to give my wife, Sue, a kiss on the way to the finish line, so that was a pretty cool moment."
Registration for Boston open Sept. 9 with the big event taking place in April 2020. Until then, Parnell said he will be keeping busy with the his 10th Annual Run/Walk, taking place on Dec. 31 by Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre. Last year's event raised $6,500 in support of Free to Run, and initiative allowing Iraqi women and girls to run for freedom and equality.