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Cottonwood Holladay Journal

Local history teacher trains for Boston Marathon

Dec 01, 2017 08:00AM ● By Jana Klopsch

Bryce Mildon qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

By Kaylee Smedley | k.smedley@mycityjournals.com    

Bryce Mildon considers himself to be a fairly normal guy. He works as a high school history teacher for the online school Utah Connections Academy to support his wife and four children. But unlike most “normal” guys, Mildon will be running in the upcoming Boston Marathon.

“It’s been a goal for quite a while,” said Mildon. “I ran my first marathon, the Salt Lake Marathon, in 2003. Ever since then, I have been trying to qualify for Boston.”

He explained that he had tried to qualify for the Boston Marathon on five or six different occasions. Despite all of the training, each attempt seemed to fall apart. This time, however, it was different.

“I ran some 50k races, some 50-milers, and then last year, I ran a 100-miler here in Utah. And then after that, I just thought, ‘You know, I’m in really good shape. I wanna try again for the, you know, for the Boston marathon.’”

To qualify for the Boston Marathon, you must meet a certain pace based on your age bracket. The bracket Bryce Mildon fell into required a pace of less than three hours and 10 minutes.

“That’s like a seven minute and 13-second mile — for the whole 26 miles,” said Mildon. “So that was pretty fast — my previous average had been three hours and 19 minutes, so I had to drop 10 minutes off of my time!”

In September, Mildon ran in the Cottonwood Marathon, attempting once again to qualify for Boston. He said that unlike many runners who started the race at a very fast speed, he began with an almost slow pace. As he made up for lost time, Mildon began passing those who had started with too fast of a speed.

The most difficult portion of the race was in miles 18–22, at the bottom of Cottonwood Canyon. Mildon shared that, after going downhill for 18 miles, the sudden flat terrain was where most runners cramped up and lost time. At this point in the race, Mildon was ahead of his time and could afford going a bit slower, ending the race with a time of three hours and six minutes.

“Three hours and six minutes. So that’s a qualifying time for Boston, but you still have a tiered system so they only let people in who beat their time. They open up registration based on who beat their time the most,” he explained.

Mildon said the first week of registration was opened up to those who beat their time by more than 20 minutes. The next group was for those who beat their time by 10 minutes, then by five minutes, and finally for those beating their time by less than five minutes. Mildon was part of that final category.

“When it finally got down to where it was the max amount of people, I got in by six seconds!” said Mildon. “So that’s like taking an extra drink at the eighth station.”

The journey leading up to Mildon’s dream of running in the Boston Marathon has reinforced critical lessons, both in the athletic world and society in general. On the physical side, Mildon talked about the importance of discovering a balance of work and rest, emphasizing the importance of giving your body time to recover after doing something high in intensity.

Mildon also shared the importance of having a specific focus to drive you. “It’s hard to train or get up early in the morning when you don’t really have a goal,” he said.

“People say, ‘Wow, I could never do a marathon!’ But really, it’s not necessarily about how fast you do it. Your goal should be just to finish. And I think anyone with a certain amount of drive can be able to do that,” said Mildon.

The 122nd Boston Marathon will take place on April 16, 2018. Bryce said he will start a new training plan about four months in advance. This plan involves building up distances and speeds, while allowing for a “caper” rest period during the final three weeks before the race.

This preparation process is very involved, especially while maintaining a career and a family. Like with any race, this process requires you to remain both balanced and determined. However, Mildon is applying a motto he uses whenever he’s on a long run.

“Just keep moving, and you’ll get there eventually,” he said. “You’re not going to get there if you stop. Just keep moving.”