OKLAHOMA CITY –– Piedmont All-State cross country runner John Anderson wanted a challenge.
He found one and owned it.
Anderson took part in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon on Sunday, crossing the finish line in 22nd place overall and second in his age bracket (11-19) in a time of 2:59.40 in the first full marathon of his life.
“I was aiming for under three hours, which I just barely got,” he said. “It’s definitely rewarding, because most people can’t even wrap their heads around running that far.”
Since his impressive finish, Anderson said his phone has been busy.
“Which has been really nice,” he said. “I had family and friends call me to wish me luck before the race and congratulate me afterwards.”
The race wasn’t without complications – far from it in fact. As the miles built, even gentle inclines became treacherous for the accomplished distance runner. Anderson had driven some of the course days before the race, but said it didn’t help much the day of the race.
“I got to about Mile 20 and wished I was done,” he said. “There were little hills and rises that were things you wouldn’t even think about if you were walking or driving, but after 20 miles they’re tough.”
Finally with the finish line in sight, Anderson heard a pop in his leg. As it turned out the strain to his right hip diagnosed by the medical staff on site was minor, but in the moment with 25 grueling miles already behind him, the pain made the final charge tougher.
“I was so close to the finish I wasn’t going to stop, but if that had happened two miles earlier it would’ve affected my time quite a bit,” he said.
Anderson said he might run in next year’s marathon, but isn’t ready to commit to the time it takes to prepare just yet. Anderson began training for the 2015 race last November.
“It’s a thought. I’m already thinking about cross country season right now. I go from one thing to another really quickly,” he said. “I’ll finish cross country season and then I’ll think about it more.”
Anderson’s advice to anyone prepping for a marathon was simple.
“Train hard and once you get there just run – don’t think about how far it is,” he said.