The Spring & Summer Fitness Challenge is in full swing at North Star BlueScope, with many employees working hard to reach their number of visits and shed the last of that pesky winter weight. Some are even beginning their regular conditioning to run in various community 5K’s and 10K’s later this summer. It’s also important to recognize those who go above and beyond in their fitness endeavors. A perfect example is NSBSL’s own Bill Burns, who completed the Boston Marathon earlier this year.
Originally a cross country and track runner in his teens and early 20s, Bill got back into running when his daughter joined the cross country team in high school as well. His first major competition was in the 2012 Glass City Marathon Relay, a team-based competition in Toledo, Ohio. After that, he ran in several half marathons as he geared up to take on bigger challenges.
“What a lot of people don’t realize is that you need to build a strong foundation to run a marathon,” explains Burns, a Team Leader in the Caster Operations Department. “My endurance and strength conditioning starts 22 weeks before the day of the race... If you don’t prepare enough, you run the risk of injuring yourself and ending your day nowhere near the finish line.” (He grins.) “You will hit the Wall, it’s just a matter of pushing that point as far back in the race as possible.” [The “Wall” is the moment runners refer to when the body’s muscles run out of stored energy and become increasingly fatigued.]
Bill’s advice is solid: The 2017 Boston Marathon marked his fourth full marathon in a year and a half. Previously, he ran marathons in Detroit & Grand Rapids, as well as in Tuscon, Arizona. He holds very respectable times of 3h13m, 3h19m, and 3h12m, in that order. The course for Boston was the most difficult course he encountered, however, with several exhausting hills and inclines through the course’s second half which prove to be many runners’ breaking point.
Beginning the race at the 8,434th position, he cut that number down to 2,935th by the end of the course and finishing 289th in his age/gender group of approximately 2600.
In the end, Bill set his personal best time in Boston: 3 hours, 10 minutes, and 40 seconds.
So what’s next for the 49 year-old athlete?
There are about 25 large marathons that are used to quality for the Boston. “My son is currently a senior in high school and he’s been wanting to run in Boston with me,” says Burns. He adds, “The first step for both of us is to train to be our best and get qualified for Boston by running in the Detroit Marathon in October. I keep telling him that we’ll need to put in some serious prep to be ready to go. If we can both make it through that, then it’s time to think about another family trip.” Bill also has plans to run in the NSBSL-sponsored Mighty Niagara Half Marathon this September*, and again in Honolulu this December!
We wish Bill and his son the best of luck in their upcoming competitions!
*If you would like to join Bill and other North Star runners at the Niagara Falls races, there are still several spots open for the trip. Please visit the Fitness Center or contact a trainer for more information.
Did You Know?
With its origins predating the 20th Century, the Boston Marathon is the oldest continually running marathon in the world. The first marathon was held in 1897 and had only 18 runners. This year, the 121st annual running of the race, the Boston Marathon featured over 30,000 participants from 97 countries. Over half a million spectators gather to cheer on the competitors every 3rd Monday in April (also known as Patriot’s Day), making it New England's most widely viewed sporting event.