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In Boston, it’s camaraderie that impresses local runners

This year’s Boston Marathon had more of everything: More security, more runners, more spectators, more significance. The only thing it didn’t have more of was distance.

For first-time Boston Marathon runner, Beth Schrader, it was the people that made the race.

“I ran my second-worst marathon time here,” the 40-year-old Fort Wayne resident said about her 4:14:22 finish. “It took me awhile to see the big picture: It was about the camaraderie out on the course.”

This year, the Boston Athletic Association allowed 9,000 more runners than last year, bringing the total to 36,000, many of whom were caught past the 4-hour, 10-minute mark when the bombs detonated near the finish a year ago.

On Monday, “Around mile 11, I noticed a woman along the side who was walking. She had run last year and had to stop at 25.5 (miles) because of the bombs. I asked if she was OK, and she said, ‘I can’t do it alone,’ so I said, ‘I’ll do it with you,’ and we ran and walked until mile 23 together.

“That’s what this race is about. The hard part, the qualifying and training, is done. It’s just time to enjoy the destination.”

Schrader intends to requalify and run again next year.

“My qualification time is 3:45. I know I can go at least 3:40,” she said.

Despite additional security measures, officials estimated there were more than 1 million spectators, nearly twice as many as last year.

“There were people lined up all the way from mile one to 26,” Fort Wayne resident Grant Stieglitz said.

This year was Stieglitz’s second consecutive Boston Marathon. He finished in 2 hours, 48 minutes and 55 seconds.

“I knew I wasn’t going to hit my time,” the 29-year-old said. “My first half went great, but it caught up with me. The weather was warmer this year, and I got a little sunburnt and dehydrated.

“I was running with a few buddies from up north and they finished ahead of me. This was my third marathon this year, and it was their first. Their legs were fresher.”

Stieglitz’s time qualifies him for next year’s race, but he “still has 364 more days to decide whether he’ll run again next year.”

Stieglitz’s sister is a teacher in the Fort Wayne area and used Grant’s race as a lesson in a math class.

“They had it on a projector in class, and I was the lesson. They calculated my average pace per mile as part of their math lesson.”

Fort Wayne resident Ashley Sprunger, like Stieglitz, ran her second Boston Marathon on Monday.

“The crowd is unbelievable,” she said by phone on her way to Fenway Park’s celebration for the marathon runners.

Sprunger, 27, has been battling a torn calf for the past 10 weeks but was still set on running in Boston.

“I was babying it quite a bit during the race, which hurt my pace,” she said.

Sprunger finished in 3:43:58.

She said she plans on taking six weeks off before she begins training for the Berlin Marathon in September.

areichel@jg.net

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