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From trail running to Freedom trail

Daily Staff Report
Special to the DailySpecial to the Daily Megan Morrissey ran her first marathon in San Diego in a time of 3 hours, 39 minutes. She shaved off about 15 when she ran in this year's Boston Marathon.
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Editors’ note:The next few days, we’ll be profiling some of the locals who ran the Boston Marathon last month.By Ian CroppDaily Sports WriterBOSTON, Mass. – When tracing their running roots, marathoners often point to friends who got them into the sport.Megan Morrissey of Eagle can thank a furry friend who steered her in the right direction more than 15 years ago.”I adopted a husky and couldn’t keep him under control unless I ran him everyday,” Morrissey said.

Morrissey, who started trail running in 1991, competed in this year’s Boston Marathon. In what was only her second marathon, the 37-year-old Morrissey finished in a time of 3 hours, 24 minutes and 32 seconds. The time, which worked out to about a 7:48 mile for the 26.2-mile race, was good for 420th in her division.Much like Morrissey kind of stumbled upon trail racing, she hadn’t planned to run in her first marathon – the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon in San Diego, Calif.”We were going on vacation and the marathon happened to be then,” Morrissey said. “I just wanted to accomplish that goal of (running a marathon).”Morrissey ran a 3:39 in San Diego, despite pulling the illiotibial band in her knee during the 17th mile.While training for the Boston, Morrissey split her time between trail running and road running.”I did a lot of long road runs,” said Morrissey, who has run in many 25K and 50K trail running races. “I also did snowshoe races.”Our running group, no matter what, would go five days a week.”One reason Morrissey will be back in Boston next year, and at other marathons in the future, is that she has a group she loves training with.

“I can’t speak highly enough of my running group,” she said “Before, 30 mile was a good week. Now I run ridiculous amounts of miles. We all are as crazy about it, so you don’t feel out of place.”Hello?After crossing the finish line in Boston, most racers got a hug from family members. Morrissey’s husband was at the race, but took a while to catch up with her.”It was funny. He missed my finish because we had signed up for phone alerts and only the first one worked. I ran a 3:39 in San Diego, and he had no idea I’d run (the Boston) that fast.”Morrissey did have a few unexpected people watching her race.”I’ve had people I barely know say, ‘I was following you on the Internet,'” she said.During the 26.2 miles, Morrissey used a few different runners to gauge her progress.

“You keep pace with a person who you can tell is intense,” she said. “I had a couple people I’d go back and forth with. But the race didn’t space out until about mile 15 – then you could figure out people.”When she was racing solo, Morrissey was scared to slow down, knowing her father was watching her splits online. “If he saw my pace drop, he’d freak out,” she said.While in Boston, Morrissey and her husband enjoyed getting to see the city scene away from the race.”It was a totally new experience,” she said. “We’d stayed on Cape Cop and done the freedom tour before.”Already prequalified for the New York marathon, Morrissey will compete – a good excuse to explore another city.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.


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