It was a moment John Turssline won’t soon forget. On Monday, the Ocean View resident lined up next to 10,000 people on the streets of Boston to compete, running in the first heat of the Boston Marathon. More than 20,000 ran in the 110th annual event, with more than 97 percent finishing.
After feeling ill less than halfway through the 26-mile trek, Turssline, 33, finished in a time of 3:41:20, more than an hour-and-a-half behind the Kenyan winner, in a disappointing finish for the local resident, who qualified with a time of 3:07.
Still, despite a finish he called disappointing, Turssline said that he was in awe of the event itself and enjoyed taking part in such a significant race.
“It was thrilling,” he said. “Getting into that marathon was a thrill to begin with. It was a nice feeling to be around so many terrific runners.”
Turssline said that he and his family arrived in the city early Saturday morning. After attending the expo and seeing the sites throughout the weekend, he was ready to race on Monday. He blamed his sickness about halfway through, however, on eating a bad breakfast. Still, he was determined to complete the task ahead of him.
“I kind of pushed my way through it,” Turssline said of the race. “There’s no way I wasn’t going to finish.”
It wasn’t easy, though, by any stretch of the imagination, he said. A hill at mile 17 nearly claimed Turssline’s race and heartbreak hill at mile 21 “was every bit as heartbreaking as they say it is,” he said. The hilly course was unfamiliar for the Delaware resident and the hardest he’d ever run, he said.
But at mile 22, he got a boost. Running by Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox, screaming fans lined the streets after second baseman Mark Loretta hit a walk-off homerun to propel the Red Sox past the Seattle Mariners 7-6 on Patriots Day.
The atmosphere on the streets adjacent to the park was electric, Turssline said, and it kept him going for that stretch of the race.
“It was exhilarating,” Turssline said. “The whole 26 miles were lined with people. There were (probably) close to a couple hundred thousand spectators.
Turssline said that his qualifying time of 3:07 he ran on Oct. 18 in the Steam Town marathon in Scranton, Pa., lasts for 18 months in the sport’s books, so he is automatically qualified for next year’s Boston run, in which he will participate, he said.
“You have to qualify to get in,” Turssline said of the Boston Marathon. “That’s one of the reasons I wanted to run a good time. I wanted to validate being there. But the first time you just run it to finish it. The second time you run it to compete.”
Monday’s marathon was the 11th of Turssline’s running career, but he said no others compared. The Dover elementary school teacher had been training for the race since mid-February, running distances of 6 to 8 miles during the week, and distances of 13 to 22 miles on the weekends.
And although he had only been in a regimented training since February, Turssline said he runs year-round. Once you start, it’s hard to stop, he said.
“Running is kind of addictive,” he said. “Once you start, you start doing it year-round. I enjoy the peace and quiet and getting out and relieving the stress of work.”