Dickman set to compete in Boston

Coach Dickman is ready to take on the Boston Marathon.

photo provided by Coach Dickman

Coach Dickman is ready to take on the Boston Marathon.

If you walk into one of Elder student’s favorite teacher’s classroom, Mr. Dickman, one thing becomes evident very quickly: his love for distance running.

“I love the solitude, the friendships, the rebirth, the challenge, the pushing beyond perceived limitations, and ultimately the joy that running brings,” Dickman said about his passion for distance running.

He also described his love for running by using a quote from a book he had just read about the 1936 United States Olympic crew team.

“The brutal afternoon workouts left him exhausted and sore but feeling cleansed, as if someone had scrubbed out his soul with a stiff wire brush,” he said.

Dickman started his illustrious running career at a young age where his dad began inviting him to run.

“I would have to say my dad originally, and my brother. My dad and I started jogging a couple of miles a couple times a week together beginning when I was in the third grade. He pretty much made me. I am forever grateful that he did. And let’s be honest, I wasn’t any good at any of the ‘traditional’ grade school sports most people play,” he said.

Dickman then added, “I played hockey for three years, at least I wasn’t too embarrassingly bad at it, prior to discovering cross country in high school. As soon I joined Elder Cross Country I knew I had found the sport that I love. That was it for me. I was hooked.”

Last October, Dickman competed in the Columbus Marathon, his third marathon ever, where he finished the 26.2 mile course and placed 80th out of around 3,850 runners. However, on April 17th, Dickman will be taking a major step in his distance running career by competing in one of the world’s most competitive and famous marathons in the world, the Boston Marathon.

photo by Andrew Schenkel
A hard finish from Coach Dickman during the Columbus Marathon.

To qualify for Boston, each runner needs to meet the specific qualifying time set by the Boston Athletic Association that is based off of their age and gender. For Dickman, he qualified for the Boston Marathon this year beating the qualifying standard of 3:05:00 in his first marathon ever where he finished the Grand Rapids Marathon in an outstanding two hours and forty-eight minutes.

Dickman was elated after qualifying for Boston, “I was so excited! Honestly going into my first marathon I had no idea what to expect from the distance. I went in to it with a realistic race plan in mind and I knew that if I stuck to it I would run well under the qualifying standard which I was able to do!”

“The marathon has a way of humbling you even if you run well though. You have to respect the distance. It kicks your butt. So I am so humbled and honored to have this experience of racing in Boston. I am beyond excited,” he added.

Although Dickman is definitely excited, the nerves are started to begin as the number of days until the Marathon lessen.

“I’m excited and nervous. The butterflies are already starting to flutter in my stomach and my legs are itching to race,” he said.

In the months leading up to the Boston Marathon, Dickman has decided to mimic the training that he did for his last marathon in Columbus.

He talked about it and said, “The training program I’m following is exactly the same as what I did for Columbus. Out of the three marathons I have competed in Columbus was by far my worst. This was due to heat, but mostly because of an issue in my right leg that I’ve since corrected. I ran poorly not because of my training program so I decided to stick with the same one.”

Coach Dickman has put in the work on the roads and the track to prepare for Boston but his fellow co-workers have made sure that’s he well prepared for the marathon in other ways.

“I have been reading anything I can get my hands on about the marathon whether it be about the race history or a course description. Coach Spencer gave me a book written in the 70’s about the history of the race, and Mrs.  Williams Mitchell was kind enough to get a book for me that gives a mile by mile description of the course which I just started,” Dickman mentioned.

While running in Boston, Dickman will miss the support of the Elder community that has been there during past marathons.

He elaborated, “I love that some Elder guys came up to cheer and support us. I’ve heard the crowd is ever present at Boston though: fans line the whole course which is uncommon in most races of that length. I certainly won’t be lonely, but I will still miss seeing the familiar faces in the crowd cheering (and handing me orange slices).”

When asked about what’s he’s going to do once finished, Dickman had some pretty funny answers.

“Fall over. Actually, I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but I’m going to anyway…drink a beer. Or two. Probably a Sam Adams since I’m in Boston. Then I’m going to eat lots of food. I wonder if Boston has Chicken McNuggets, one nugget for every mile run,” he said.

The Boston Marathon is set to begin around 10 in the morning of Monday, April 17th and will be streaming live on NBC Sports Network and will be replayed later that night at 8:00 p.m. on Universal HD. Coach Dickman, along with a few other Elder graduates, will be starting in the “Elite and Wave 1 runners” starting slot. Tune in to see if you can catch a glimpse of Coach Dickman grinding through the marathon or follow the runners live online.

The Purple Quill and the rest of the Elder community wish Coach Dickman good luck in the Boston Marathon!