Many local runners are likely to be affected by the postponement of the Boston Marathon.
But Hollyanne Fricke has found a silver lining to the date change.
With enough physical therapy and training, the Omaha woman just might be able to tackle her first Boston Marathon.
Fricke qualified and signed up for the race, originally set for April 20, but an injury sidelined her training schedule. Later this month she’s set to have an operation to repair a labral tear in her hip.
She’s hoping to have recovered in time for the race’s new date on Sept. 14.
“I was not planning on running a marathon this year,” Fricke, 32, said. “I still will take my recovery very seriously. It’s great to feel like I have the chance. If I just get to participate, that will be a win for me.”
The Boston Marathon has never been canceled since the first edition in 1897. In 1918, the format was modified to a relay race due to World War I; the 2013 race was stopped when two bombs exploded at the finish line, several hours after the winners had finished but while many runners were still on the course.
Fricke expected an announcement regarding the race, especially as major sporting events were canceled this week.
“It wasn’t a matter of if, but when,” Fricke said.
The date change was “bittersweet,” Fricke said. She knows fellow runners who have been deep in their training routines. Some may not be able to make the date work now.
“I think there’s always a silver lining,” she said. “As long as people are able to find a way to get there, I think most people will. Boston is Boston.”
John Ritland, another Omaha runner, has run the Boston Marathon eight times. He signed up this year knowing he wouldn’t be able to complete the race in April. He was set to have a total knee replacement.
“I knew I’d have a hard time of ever qualifying again,” the 68-year-old said. “I felt compelled to sign up, pick up my bib and enjoy the event as a spectator.”
Ritland hopes to be in good enough shape to run this year’s race. He won’t be concerned about speed this time around.
“If I can go there, jog through it and enjoy the day, that will be fantastic,” Ritland said.
Ritland said the delay came as no surprise.
“I’m sure there’s significant heartbreak for people who had their hearts set on running it in April and now might not be able to at all,” Ritland said.
On the bright side, Ritland said, some Midwest runners may find training easier for a fall race as opposed to a spring race.
It is the first time that the race won’t be held in April. For the first 49 years, the marathon was held on April 19, the anniversary of the first Revolutionary War battles in Lexington and Concord, or on the 20th if Patriots Day fell on a Sunday.
“I hope the people who are delayed in September can actually run it in spring again,” Ritland said. “It will be different in the fall, but I understand. We’ll look forward to being out there again in the spring.”
This report includes material from the Associated Press.