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Napavine Native Runs Boston Marathon

By Aaron VanTuyl


BOSTON — William Sayers lived the dream of every distance runner on Monday.

COURTESY PHOTO William Sayers, 37, poses after completing the Boston Marathon on Monday. The Napavine native finished the 26.2-mile race in 3 hours, 17 minutes, 41 seconds.

The Napavine native spent Monday morning — or, at least, three hours, 17 minutes and 41 seconds of it — competing in the 121st Boston Marathon, the oldest annual marathon in the world.

“Words can’t describe the energy in that town you run through, from Hopkinton to Boston,” Sayers, a 1999 Napavine High School graduate, said. “It’s just a wall of people the whole way.”

The race passes through eight cities and towns, from Hopkinton to the Boylston Street finish line.

“Every section had their way of trying to cheer on the runners,” Sayers said, adding that the sunny-and-70-degrees weather warmer than he’s been used to lately. “The sun was on us, and from 10 a.m. on people were just out there, wall-to-wall. It was amazing. … I’ve done a lot of runs, and this was like THE run. I can see why people come to Boston.”

The Boston Marathon is one of the six World Marathon Majors. Nearly 30,000 runners take part each year, and Sayers was one of 23,214 qualifying applicants accepted into the 2017 race. (The rest of the field is made up of invitational runners, typically competing for charities.)

Sayers met Boston’s qualifying time — 3:10 for males in the 35-39 age group — back in September, with a 3:04:11 time at the Tunnel Marathon that runs from Snoqualmie Pass to North Bend. It was the first of three marathons he ran in 90 days to help prepare himself for Boston.

Sayers, 37, lives in Vancouver, Wash., and works for Franz Bakery. He said he took up running six or seven years ago.

“Well, long story short, I got divorced, drank a lot of beer, and decided I needed to change my life,” he said. “And when you start running, it’s, ‘I want to run a 5K, or a 10K.’ You run a marathon, and then your goal becomes bigger; then it becomes, ‘I’m gonna run Boston.’”

Having crossed that ambitious goal off the list, Sayers said he’ll work on running a sub-three-hour marathon — something he came close to in Snoqualmie.

“I’m really working towards that,” he said, “but I’ll also just maybe do another major marathon — maybe Tokyo or Chicago.”

He arrived in town on Saturday, took part in the pre-race spaghetti dinner Sunday and wrapped up his adventure with a post-race party at Fenway Park Monday night. His time was about where he expected to finish, he said, based on the weather and having to travel beforehand.

“And I wanted to be able to enjoy the experience Boston gave, so it was exactly what I wanted,” he said. “I wanted to be able to walk and enjoy myself after the run. A lot of people were dropping in the race, with the heat.”

Monday’s race was the second warmest in the last decade, behind only the 2012 race, in which temperatures hit the mid-80s. Kenya’s Geoffrey Kirui finished first in 2:09:37, with the United States’ Galen Rupp taking second in 2:09:58. Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat won the women’s title in 2:21:52.

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