The race goes on

June 25, 2013

By Christina Corrales-Toy

Local runner wins first race after Boston Marathon

Contributed Brian Maher, of Issaquah, leads the pack June 2 at the North Olympic Discovery Marathon. Maher won the overall crown in what was his first race after running in the Boston Marathon.

Brian Maher, of Issaquah, leads the pack June 2 at the North Olympic Discovery Marathon. Maher won the overall crown in what was his first race after running in the Boston Marathon.

Issaquah’s Brian Maher would not call himself a survivor, a label that others tried to attach to him after he competed in the 2013 Boston Marathon.

Yes, he and his wife Elizabeth were in Boston April 15, when two bombs exploded at the marathon’s finish line, but by the time that happened, Maher had already finished the race and the two were resting comfortably away from the chaos.

“I think it’s overly dramatic to say that we are survivors because there was not any harm done to us,” he said.

That’s not to say that they didn’t experience what would be the vigilant aftermath of the explosions. Maher recalled walking through a park where soldiers had set up camp.

“That was crazy. It was like there was a war going on here,” he said.

The main thing Maher said he took away from the experience, though, is the sheer resilience of the running community.

“If anything, I feel proud of the running community,” he said. “It just seemed like everyone banded to together. That makes me happy and proud.”

Through it all, Maher said he was not afraid.

“To be honest, if you get scared, then I feel like you are playing into the hands of the whole point of a terrorist,” he said. “They want you to have terror.”

It is no surprise then that nearly two months after the Boston Marathon, Maher competed in the June 2 North Olympic Discovery Marathon without an ounce of trepidation.

Maher did more than compete, however. He won the race that goes from Sequim to Port Angeles, with a time of 2 hours, 53 minutes and 19 seconds. It was the first marathon he won after he began competing in 2010.

He improved his time from last year’s event by more than 30 minutes, when he finished 23rd in 3:25.23.

“Between that time and now, I’ve gotten a lot more races under my belt and I’ve learned how to better pace myself,” he said.

Going in, Maher knew he had a good shot to take North Olympic Discovery’s overall crown, since he ran the fastest he ever had in the Boston Marathon.

“I just ran Boston at a 2:52 marathon and I was looking at last year’s results, the fastest time was 2:59,” he said. “So, I thought, wow I have a potential opportunity here.”

Inspired by a friend, Maher set a lofty goal to run 3,000 miles this year, which equates to about 58 miles a week. It is not an easy endeavor, he said. It requires sacrifice and focus.

“Running is important to me, but my family is way more important to me and I want to make sure they’re happy, and sometimes with some of the running goals I have, it basically means that I’m running about nine hours a week,” he said.

Living in Issaquah, there are countless places to accumulate mileage, Maher said, but his favorite place to do it is Tiger Mountain.

“I love trail running, but if you want to get easy mileage, Tiger is probably not the place to do it,” he said. “It’s a good mountain run, but you don’t get your miles easily that way.”

What Maher enjoys the most about running, he said, is the opportunity to connect with nature.

“You go out there and you just feel at one,” he said. “I feel God’s presence out there, and I feel God’s watching over me. I don’t have to worry about bears or anything.”

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