When Connie Bauman witnessed the Boston Marathon bombings last year from her home in Clear Lake, she immediately set into her mind’s eye to make a concerted effort to participate in this year’s event.
“I didn’t like the idea that there are some groups of people trying to break the spirit of people who participate in this great event,” she said. “So at that moment I decided I’d see if I could qualify.”
Bauman experienced the Boston Marathon in 2003 when she was 39 years old and said at the time the only way she would ever try and go back was if her younger sister would also qualify at some point.
Her sister came close but was unable to meet the requirements for participation. For Connie’s age group of 50-54, she had to have a qualifying time under four hours.
“I told her to try and she did, but she fell about 10 minutes short of the cut-off,” said Connie. “I told her I wished she was coming, but I didn’t want to turn down this chance to go and represent Minnesota.
Bauman will be one of nearly 600 Minnesotans running the 118th Boston Marathon that is expecting to field 36,000 runners.
The 2003 BM race was run on April 21 and Bauman finished the race in 3:40.02, faster than the average finish time of all the competitors.
Out of the 17,045 men and women racers, Bauman finished in 5,197th place.
Bauman began her running career back at Foley High School where she ran track and actually thought she was pretty good at it. When her commitment and drive were called into question and challenged by then track Coach Tom Keating, she returned her senior year and ran first for the team.
“Tom Keating was the one who challenged me and pushed me to get better and strive for the best,” Bauman said. “He was a great coach and a great man who mentored me well beyond high school.”
Keating died in a two-car accident in 2006 while driving from Foley to Monticello. He was 58.
Bauman went on to run for the track tean at SCSU and realized she had the talent to compete against just about anybody.
“Our men’s college track coach saw the potential in me and I already knew I had the drive,” she said. “I think back on my younger years and realize if I had really got the best training and coaching — like at a larger university or something — I could have been competing to be on an Olympic team.”
Bauman has competed in numerous marathons, 5ks and triathalons over her long running career including Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth and the Twin Cities Marathon. Her best time ever in a marathon was her first back in 1987 where she cruised to the finish line in 3:14 at Grandma’s and collected a top five prize.
Bauman, who has never really suffered from shin splints, blisters or incessant chafing, credits her fitness, her shoe and sock selection and her physical well-being regiment she participates in every single day.
“I spend a half hour to 45 minutes every morning stretching and doing yoga to prepare my body for the day,” she says. “I also do a lot of biking and lap swimming.”
She is, however, suffering a meniscus issue with her left knee but is sure the issue wont hamper her in her quest to finish the race in a reasonable time.
Bauman is not planning on “going all out” in Boston, but she does have some goals she hopes to meet at every interval of the race. Her biggest worry is the congestion in which she says in 2003, the people were stacked together, shoulder-to-shoulder for much of the first part of the race. With 36,000 expected runners this year, she’s not sure how the whole thing will pan out.
Connie, her husband Ken and their son, Adam, plan to make the 1,400 mile, 22-hour drive to the east coast a few days in advance of the race on April 21 so she can pick up materials, attend sports and fitness expos and enjoy the pre-race dinner at the city hall plaza for athletes and guests.
Official start times are the elite women taking off at around 9:32 a.m. followed by the elite men and wave one of qualifiers at 10 a.m. Wave two takes off at 10:25, wave three at 11:00 and wave four at 11:25.
Shannon Lindgren, Clear Lake, will also be running the Boston Marathon for her second time (2012). She’s 42 years old.
The race will be broadcast nationally on Universal Sports and online at universalsports.com.