Milford native Patrick Bailey took on an amazing challenge this April when he decided to compete in the Boston Marathon. One of the world’s oldest and most distinguished road races, the Boston Marathon is a difficult and unique competition that few have the opportunity to experience.
Bailey, a 2005 graduate of Milford High School, played football as an offensive tackle during his tenure as a Buccaneer. Weighing around 230 pounds as a teenager, Patrick is not what most individuals think of when they imagine a marathon runner. He began running competitively in 2009 and developed a love for the sport quickly. The 26.2 miles that make up the Boston Marathon seemed like a large challenge to even Bailey himself, but not impossible.
“I actually was a pretty big guy in high school but I started running when I was a Sophomore at Marshall University,” commented Patrick. “I have always wanted to try the Boston Marathon even when I played football but I didn’t quite understand at the time how much work it would take.”
According to the Boston Athletic Association, 23,521 applications were received during the two weeks of registration for the 2012 marathon with only 20,081 applicants being accepted. About 14% (3,228 applicants) were unable to be accepted.
Per the advice of Patrick’s football coach, Mike Hillagoss, he began running under the direction on Bobby Spath, local trainer and experienced runner. It was these workouts that made Bailey realized that his goal to take on the Boston Marathon was going to take determination and mental stamina.
“My first 5k race was very humbling,” admits Bailey. “I remember being beat by an older woman who was a former smoker. That’s when I realized I really needed to begin seriously training.”
When Patrick lined up on the morning of the Boston Marathon he recalls it being a very humid day. According to race officials the temperature at the beginning of the race was 80 degrees. Although conditions were not perfect, he was excited and determined to have a good time.
“The race itself is really exciting,” stated Patrick when describing the race from the little town of Hopkinton to the large city of Boston. “Every town you run through is so distinctive. You are seeing real communities and the people in them. It truly is a community event for each town.”
Rising above difficult temperatures, physical hardship and mental exhaustion, Bailey finished the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon in 3 hours, 8 minutes, 30 seconds.
“I remember being in a state of disbelief,” commented Bailey , recalling the moment he crossed the finish line. “I remember looking up and seeing the buildings of the city. That moment is something that will always be painted in my mind.”
Patrick may have accomplished his goal of running the Boston Marathon but he has just begun his journey to being a competitive adult athlete. Besides his desire to qualify for the Boston Marathon next year, he also will be training in the sports of running, biking and swimming in order to take on the new challenge of competing in a triathlon series.