To Boston and Back

Published 10:11 am Monday, May 3, 2010

Training for and running a marathon often takes blood, sweat and tears – and some would say a degree of insanity.

But those who run them say the aches, burns and blisters are all worth it.

One Suffolk resident, Billy Chorey Jr., knows all about gritting his teeth and pushing his body through 26.2 miles.

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Once again taking part in the annual Boston Marathon, on Monday, April 19, Chorey beat his previous best time and completed the race in 2 hours, 50 minutes.

“I’d always wanted to run the Boston Marathon,” Chorey said. “It’s the only one you have to qualify for to run. At my first marathon, I figured out what I needed to run to qualify for it, and I made it. Anytime you finish a run it is an honor, but at Boston you’re with some of the fastest runners in the world.”

The Boston Marathon, which completed its 114th year, is the world’s oldest annual marathon and ranks among one of the world’s best-known racing events.

While many people consider completing the race a fete in and of itself, “I was a little upset over my time,” Chorey said. “At one point I thought I had time to spare. I was on pace for running [the race in 2:45], but I lost it after a couple hills.”

The run, which winds down city streets and down the center of Boston, is considered a difficult marathon because of the Newton Hills, a series of hills which begin at the 16th mile — about two-thirds into the race — and culminate in Heartbreak Hill between miles 20 and 21.

It was at this point, Chorey, who is also recovering from a stress fracture, lost his six-minute per mile pace.

“I dropped from a [6 minutes, 10 second pace] per mile pace to [7:30 to 7:45] per mile pace,” Chorey said. “Last year, Heartbreak Hill wasn’t a problem for me. So, this year I was so frustrated. We runners hold on to numbers pretty tightly.”

Anyone used to running a 10, 9 or even 8 minute mile might be in awe anyone would think running 26 miles in under three hours wasn’t fast enough, but marathon runners are known for their perfectionist tendencies and self-competitive spirit.

“I went back to the hotel and ran three more miles, just to prove I could do it,” Chorey said.

Chorey began running five years ago, after he was diagnosed with arthritis at the age of 25. After being on treatment, he said he slowly began exercising again, which led to running. He ran his first marathon in 2008 at the Shamrock Festival, and he is now sponsored by Brooks Running, which he said “just tries to motivate people to run,” which is exactly how Chorey started.

Starting by running one mile and then steadily increasing his distance, “I eased in to it and slowly pushed my body to the next level each time,” Chorey said. “It was such a blessing to be physically able to run again. A 5k used to be a long run for me. Now, it’s a warm up.”