Over 20,000 of the world’s best runners will converge in Boston next Monday for the oldest annual marathon in the world, and that will include a handful from here in the Valley.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” said Michael Maillis.
The 44-year-old has competed in 37 marathons over the last seven years, and Monday will mark his 5th time running with the world’s best in Boston.
“I think the first time you qualify for Boston, it’s almost equal to the first child you have born,” continued Maillis. “It’s that exciting. It’s something you talk about all the time. You show people pictures. It’s exactly like having a child.”
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“That’s the race. That’s the race every runner wants to do,” added Amanda Fire, who will be making her first trip to Boston this year. She continued, “Getting that email that I qualified, that was the best email I ever got.”
Fire, a Canfield resident, started running just three years ago and has only run in two previous marathons. She qualified by running in the Cleveland marathon last year. She ran a time of 3:34:01, which was nine seconds under the cutoff time for the Boston marathon. Now, Fire trains by running over 60 miles a week.
“A lot of people will tell you a marathon is two parts,” said Fire. “The first part of the race is the first 20 miles, and the second is the 6.2 (miles) at the end. It’s a whole other race.”
Maillis adds to the difficulty of running a marathon. He said, “Running a marathon is definitely 50 percent mental. It’s half in your head and half in your body. Your body can do it. You just have to convince your body it can do it.”
And when the runners cross the finish line, Maillis can only describe it one way. “Complete accomplishment. You feel happy. You’re smiling. You feel like you can take on the world.”