It was 50 years ago Rick Jenkner’s mom died.
To honour her memory, and as a tribute to a friend battling Alzheimer’s Disease, Jenkner – a Vernon retirement residence manager – ran his sixth Boston Marathon.
“It was a total joy to be able to do so,” said Jenkner, 62, who completed the marathon in four hours 45 minutes seven seconds.
The 121st Boston Marathon was also the 50th anniversary of Katherine Switzer becoming the first woman finisher with an official number. Switzer commemorated the feat with her feet, completing the race as well.
“I was honoured and humbled to be part of that,” said Jenkner, who plans to continue to try and qualify for Boston.
“It’s because of the history, the spirit of the volunteers and fans along the course,” he said.
Also in the field of 27,221 at the starting line on a sunny Boston Monday morning was Vernon’s Myra Mattila, 55, competing in her first Boston Marathon.
Mattila, an Interior Health employee, and member of the KalRATS Triathlon Club, qualified for Boston at the 2015 Portland Marathon.
“I was excited and nervous at the start,” said Mattila. “I knew it was going to be hot. All of my training was done in the cold.”
With her husband, Danny Kermode, cheering her along, Mattila finished the 42.2-kilometre course in 4:29:02.
“It has been a longtime goal to run this race,” she said. “The hard part was qualifying so I made sure that I enjoyed the day.”
There were 1,075 runners in Jenkner’s men’s age group, and 735 in Mattila’s.
There were 1,907 Canadians in the field, the second highest number of entries among the 96 countries represented (U.S.A. led with 21,708).