JULIE BERTRAND/Independent reporter
While Stettler residents were tending to their daily business on April 18, local athlete Bridie Forde was running her way through the 2011 Boston Marathon.
She ran it in five hours, two minutes and 42 seconds, preferring to concentrate on crossing the finish line and enjoying her experience rather than finishing in a certain amount of time.
“I just wanted to finish. I didn’t care if it took me six hours,” said Bridie Forde.
“Once I got going, I thought that I didn’t have to worry about that anymore because I really felt quite good.”
The weather was a cool 12 degrees Celsius, which was a boon for Forde as she doesn’t like running in warm weather.
Forde did better than she thought she would, since she had not done as much training as she wanted.
“I attribute that to the fact that it was really cold and we had lots of snow,” explained Forde.
“I just didn’t get out running as much as I would have liked.”
Before the halfway mark, Forde had to stop to take her socks off since they were hurting her feet.
“I ran with just my shoes. I think I chose the socks because they had the maple leaf on the ankle. I wanted to wear my Canada socks,” said Forde.
Throughout the marathon, Forde was encouraged by countless spectators, who offered her licorice water, and took pictures of her on her camera.
“You’d run along and you would hold your hand out and all these little kids would high-five you. You got caught up in it. It was really fun,” said Forde.
She ended up tearing up during the last kilometer of the marathon, even though she was happy to finish it.
“The last mile was something. I was glad to be done but at the same time it was a bit sad,” said Forde.
Her family was waiting for her across the finish line. Her husband Jim, her daughter Kathleen and her grandson Lachlan had the opportunity to follow her on Kathleen’s BlackBerry, thanks to alerts sent by the marathon monitors every time Forde ran past a marker.
“All the participants wear a computer chip,” said Forde.
“My family had a fair idea exactly when I would be finished and go over the finish line. That was good.“
After the marathon, Forde celebrated her experience by sitting in the hotel’s hot tub with her grandson and talking with other marathon runners.
While Forde wouldn’t turn down the chance to run the Boston Marathon a second time, changes in qualification times mean it will be harder, as the time was cut down by five minutes.
She prefers to concentrate on the upcoming Five Peaks series and the runoff for the Alberta 55+ summer games.
Forde is now a proud owner of Boston Marathon finisher’s medal, added to her ever-growing collection of cross-country skiing and marathon trophies and medals.