Kim Harris recounts her experience this week in the big race
Facing some of the highest temperatures in the Boston Marathon’s history, local runner Kim Harris never backed down, knowing throughout the 26.2 mile race that she would cross the finish line no matter what.
“I knew I would finish,” said Harris. “Even if I had to walk…which I didn’t.”
As temperatures moved into the high 80s, peaking around 87 degrees, 10 percent of the running field found themselves in medical tents along the Boston Marathon’s route. Reports after this year’s race showed 2100 of the 22,426 participants were treated for dehydration, heat exhaustion, and other heat-related ailments during Monday’s marathon.
Harris didn’t waver, though, passing roadside heat warning signs and over 500,000 cheering spectators to cover the 40 kilometer route in 3 hours, 41 minutes, and 17 seconds.
“I’ve always been really competitive,” she said in an interview this week. “Especially with myself.”
The Boston Marathon, now in it’s 116th year, is the oldest and most widely recognized marathon event in the world, drawing tens of thousands of runners and hundreds of thousands of spectators every year. This year, local Santaquin marathoner Kim Harris was part of the spectacle, having qualified last year at the Utah Valley Marathon.
The marathon has left a lasting impression on Harris. Recounting her experience, she gets teary-eyed.
“The experience was beyond anything I could have ever imagined,” she says. “And it makes me a little emotional, because as someone who just loves to run…you go that weekend and everything is about the Boston Marathon.”
To put the enormity of the event in perspective, Harris tells of her sister and fellow runner Angela Horrocks who participated in the marathon with her. Even though they finished within 30 seconds of each other, Harris says they never once saw each other during the race.
Harris said the overwhelming support from the cities and towns along the route was incredible. From spraying down runners with their own garden hoses to providing ice buckets along the way, the locals make “The Boston” memorable.
“You’re never alone for 26 miles,” said Harris. “I don’t think the runners would have made it without the townspeople.”
She says the hardest part of the race came, not at Heartbreak Hill where most runners struggle on the incline change, but at the 24 mile marker when she saw her husband.
“I saw my husband at mile 24, and that was a little hard…those last two miles were really hard,” said Harris.
Harris, a Physical Therapy Assistant at Mountain Land Physical Therapy in Santaquin, is a dedicated working mother of three and still finds time to train for her marathons. The Boston was her fourth marathon, and she hopes she’ll have another opportunity to run it.
“As a marathon runner the Boston is always in the back of your mind,” said Harris. “Cause that’s it.”
She said her love for running comes from her father, who was also a marathoner. Now running is her passion and she describes her “runners high” as something that combines the thrill of running with the feeling of accomplishment.
“To me it’s not necessarily something you feel while you’re running, it’s afterward,” says Harris. “It’s the excitement and the energy. It’s hard to explain. For me it’s missing it when you can’t do it…I just want to be out there, just the love of running.”
Out running past the orchards of Santaquin on a Saturday morning, for instance.
Harris’ favorite run is the one she takes with her dog Roxy from her home in Summit Ridge out to the north end of town through Genola. She runs because she loves it. That’s why her goals going in to The Boston were to finish and enjoy herself along the way.
“I had worked hard to get there, so I just said ‘I’m going to enjoy it’,” said Harris.
She said she hopes to run in the marathon again someday and gave a piece of advice to those runners looking to work their way to that point.
“I think the biggest thing is just set your goals and work hard to achieve them. Be consistent and be willing to sacrifice,” she said.