Cumberland County had 26 runners in last week’s Boston Marathon.
One came in among the top 1,000 out of more than 27,000 runners.
Noah Reighard, a 2016 Boiling Springs High School graduate, finished in 862nd place with a time of 2:47:47.
He will graduate from Penn State University in May with a degree in national security studies. In addition to working at the Appalachian Running Company in Carlisle, Noah is an avid private pilot and long-distance runner.
Q. What went through your mind when you realized how well you had finished?
A. When I finished, I didn’t actually know that I had come in 862nd out of 27,000+ finishers. Instead, the very thought of crossing that iconic blue-and-yellow finish line made me emotional. When I first started running as a nonathletic sixth-grader, I would finish my one-mile runs by imagining that I was on homestretch of the Boston Marathon. To have that once-unobtainable dream come true was truly an incredible feeling.
Q. For nonrunners, can you describe what an achievement it is to finish in the top 1,000 at Boston?
A. Boston is unusual among marathon races because unless you meet stringent charity-runner requirements, you must run a highly competitive qualifying time in another marathon before the BAA will even consider admitting you to the race. As such, qualifying for Boston (or BQ’ing) is a common end-goal for many amateur runners. This means that almost every runner that lines up in Hopkinton is towards the top end of their respective gender and age categories.
I’m nowhere near the TV-famous elite runners, or even the amateur-elite athletes, but to finish in the top 1,000 in such a crowded and competitive field is definitely something to be proud of.
Q. Was there a point in the race when you realized how well your day was going?
A. From the gun, I made a conscious effort to follow the advice of training partners and mentors by not going out too fast. Boston is largely downhill for the first 6 miles, so it can be easy to get carried away. I knew that I had executed the first half of the race well when I looked down at my watch and saw that I had held my exact goal pace (plus or minus 3 seconds per mile) for the first 15 miles. I was unable to maintain this precise pacing on the brutal Newton Hills of miles 16-21, but a conservative race strategy allowed me to finish strong with a PR of 2 hours and 47 minutes.
Q. What’s next for you?
A. Following Boston, I plan to tailor my summer season of training more towards 5K and 10K races. In marathoning, it’s difficult to run more than two marathons per year without getting injured or burned-out. I miss racing every weekend, so I would like to focus on shorter, faster events for a few months.
After that, my goal is to train for a sub-2:40 marathon on a flat course in the fall. At the same time, after graduating from Penn State in May, I aim to pursue a career in the diverse area of my national security major, which encompasses everything from cybersecurity to studies of terrorist organizations.
Q. What makes Boston so special?
A. Boston is unlike anything else in the world, marathon or otherwise. I had heard it many times before, but it didn’t truly set in until I made that left turn onto Boylston Street. From the camaraderie of fellow runners from around the world, to the infectious enthusiasm of thousands of spectators lining the course, the energy of the Boston Marathon has made me fall in love with the sport all over again.
However, I truly couldn’t have done it without the support of my family (Angie, Lily, Amy, Barb), AppRunCo. coworkers (Linda, Katie, Doug, and more) and friends/mentors/training partners (Josh, Jim, Paul, Travis, and many more).