Rules official sets personal best at Boston Marathon
April 23, 2014
By Vartan Kupelian, PGATOUR.COM
- Champions Tour rules official Brian Claar with wife Tracy after finishing the Boston Marathon. (Photo courtesy of Brian Claar)
Pace of play is no problem for Brian Claar.
The veteran Champions Tour rules official ran his fourth Boston Marathon Monday in 3:27:47, his best time ever.
It was Claar’s 18th marathon and, truth be told, he never thought there would even be second.
“I ran one in college with two of my professors and my golf coach,” Claar said. “It was the worst experience of my life and I swore I’d never run again.”
But things change, and so has Claar’s opinion of marathons.
“My wife did one, it had to be 15 years ago now, and that inspired me,” he said. “I started running again.
“I wasn’t a very good runner so it was very hard for me. The challenge became an obsession with me – not quite obsessed but pretty close. You have to qualify for Boston. I decided to push myself.”
There are qualifying standards for age-groups. Claar, 54, had to break 3:30 to qualify. He has done that in five of his last six marathons. His performance in Boston this year was his second fastest ever and his best Boston time by two minutes.
In the United States, the average finishing time for marathons in 2011 was 4:26 for men, according to MarathonGuide.com. Claar’s performance is almost an hour better than average. Officially, 31,805 runners finished Boston this year. With 35,755 entries, it was the second largest in the race’s 118-year history, second only to the 1996.
“Running has become my therapy,” Claar said. “When I have a lot on my mind or I’m on the road, I just like to go for a run. I create problems and solve problems on my long runs.”
The Boston Marathon is run annually on Patriots Day and, given the circumstances of last year’s terrorist attacks on the race, this race was much more. Patriots Day is a celebration of Paul Revere’s ride through town – “the British are coming, the British are coming” – on April 18, 1775.
The runners and spectators all talked about a different energy this year. At 2:49 p.m. Monday, the exact time the bombs exploded last year, there was a moment of silence, followed by an enormous cheer.
Behind the winners and headlines at the Boston Marathon there are hundreds, even thousands, of stories of personal victories, perseverance and dedication. All have their own reasons for running.
“It was unbelievable,” Claar said. “The entire 26.2 miles was 2, 3, 4, 5 deep in people. The most incredible thing you’ve ever seen. It’s a holiday and a big party.
“You’ve got to be careful not to get your adrenaline going and get running too fast. Every mile there’s something else going on. The security was unbelievable, even wanded all the runners before we could get on the buses for the start.”
Despite the enhanced security from the starting line in Hopkinton, the mood was festive.
Claar starts his carbo-load for marathons a few days before, consuming baked potatoes, oatmeal, bagels.
“You’re jumping through your skin because your body turns the carbohydrates into sugar,” he said.
“You know what I like about running? What you put in is what you get out. In golf you can practice hard and get worse. In running, if you train hard, you’re going to get better. In golf, sometimes the harder you try, the harder you work, you can actually get worse.
Nerves don’t enter the equation in running, either, not like they can in golf.
“Because it’s not very mental until the end when you want to quit,” Claar said. “If you put the miles in you’re going to get better. You feel like you have a little more control over it than you do in golf.”