BY JENNIFER CROWLEY
Scottsville resident Evan Dumrese, 37, looks every part the marathon runner – wiry, energetic, and always wearing a serious pair of Nikes. It’s a bit unexpected to learn Dumrese grew up playing ice hockey and only got into marathoning ten years ago. But he developed a passion for the sport and has the medals, and war stories, to prove it.
Dumrese, despite a knee injury, has been training for this month’s Boston Marathon since early January. This will be his second time at Boston; he qualified for the 2018 event in September 2017 at the Erie Marathon. Dumrese trained incredibly hard for his first Boston race, often in the arctic air that settled over our region last winter. His goal was to finish Boston in less than three hours. “I set that goal for myself in 2016 while watching the Olympic marathon in Rio de Janeiro. I was just so inspired by so many phenomenal runners from all over the world,” he recalled.
Watching what was likely a very warm race that day in Rio, Dumrese probably never envisioned making it to Boston only to encounter wicked bad and historically awful weather. “I remember sitting at my work desk a week before Marathon Monday and checking the long-range forecast. That’s probably the closest I’ve ever come to a panic attack. Possible 30-40 mph head winds from the northeast, heavy rain, and temps in the upper 30’s? This is not the weather I had mentally prepared to run 26.2 miles in.”
Dumrese’s wife Sarah, sons Isaac (6) and Ezra (3), and Sarah’s parents, Joel and Leslie Allen, made the trip to Boston to cheer him on. His father-in-law Joel is a veteran marathoner and played a role in Dumrese taking up the sport in the first place. “The night before, once we knew the weather’s worst case scenario was really happening, my father-in-law looked me in the eye and leveled with me. He told me I had to switch my goal from running a sub-3 to just making it across the finish line.”
Upon arriving at the starting line in Hopkinton, Mass., that morning, Dumrese and his fellow runners faced a two-hour wait in cold rain with little shelter available. Dumrese can laugh about the experience a bit now, but starting a marathon in a near hypothermic state was not a scenario he trained for. “The conditions were the worst I’ve ever run in at any distance let alone the Boston Marathon. I remembered my father-in-law’s advice throughout that long, freezing, and wet day. In the end my time was about 20 minutes slower than my best, but given so many runners, amateur and elite, dropped out that day, I felt good I was able to finish.”
Following last year’s race, the sponsor The Boston Athletic Association reported that nearly 3,000 of the 30,000 marathoners that started the course did not finish due to medical reasons. Another 2,530 participants were treated along the course due to medical issues stemming from the elements.
After recovering from the experience, Dumrese had to decide if he could cross the world-class race off of his marathon bucket list and move on. Only weeks later he was signed up to run in Erie again in September to try and attain a qualifying finish time for Boston. “For my age group, you must run a qualified marathon of 3:10:00 or faster to be considered for entry. From there, they cut the times based on the times of all applicants.”
Dumrese says fine summer weather played a large role in his successful training program for Erie. And when it came to race day, the weather – low 50’s, no wind, and overcast skies – this time was on his side. He credits the favorable air and course conditions for a personal best that morning of 2:59:14; this easily qualified him for a 2019 Boston bib.
Now with Marathon Monday only weeks away, Dumrese is starting to taper down his training. He swears by a 16-week long endurance program that has gotten him in shape for his previous 26.2 mile runs. Unfortunately, Dumrese was only one week into the program in January when he experienced his first significant running injury. “I was about a mile from being done with a run when I felt a sudden, sharp pain on my left knee. I had never experienced anything like this in over a decade of running. I tried to stick with the training but had to shut it down.”
Dumrese turned to physical therapy to try and improve the pain. After many weeks without any running during late January into early February he thought his hopes of running Boston again were fading. His skilled physical therapist helped him get back on the road by mid-February however and he’s been working the program since. “My goal this time around is to run a smart race. My best chance at getting a good time is to run the first 20-miles at a pace slightly slower than my normal pace. Assuming I’m feeling good, I will start to speed up over the last 6.2 miles. I now know that the last five miles of the course are mostly slightly downhill or flat which might allow for faster running if I’ve got the energy saved.”
Run like the wind, Evan!