ROCHELLE — Local resident Kurt Lodico has completed 10 marathons over the last four years, but none were as unique as his experience this past Saturday, when Lodico ran 26.2 miles around the Rochelle area in a virtual form of the 2020 Boston Marathon.
Lodico started the race at his Hickory Ridge home Saturday morning, and his trek brought him along several local businesses and landmarks including Tilton School, downtown Rochelle, T-Byrd Lanes, May Mart and VFW Park. Lodico’s family and friends held signs and cheered him on from various areas of his route, which ultimately brought him back to his driveway, where his stepson Jack held out a 2020 Boston Marathon finish line for him to cross.
“Being able to race under these circumstances… It was definitely different,” Lodico said. “There are normally a lot of things going on around me and there’s normally a lot more excitement, but this race was nice because I could plot my own course and I could choose what day I wanted to run… There normally aren’t many fans that know me outside of my immediate family, but I had some friends who normally don’t watch me run who came out and cheered for me.”
Lodico qualified for the 2020 Boston Marathon, the first Boston Marathon of his running career, after completing the 2018 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in 3 hours and 23 minutes. The 2020 Boston Marathon had been scheduled for April, but was postponed to September and ultimately canceled due to COVID-19. However, the Boston Athletic Association chose to hold the event virtually in order to keep the event’s 124-year tradition going.
“I knew the route I was planning to run, and I enjoyed that because I had the opportunity to run through town and see different sites and different people,” Lodico said. “There were people stationed throughout town who cheered me on. There were signs and a few of my friends put a start/finish line in my driveway, which were unique things I normally wouldn’t see.”
Lodico began training for his virtual marathon 12 weeks in advance, but his journey didn’t come without a few challenges. The 56-year-old started feeling knee pain about six weeks into his training, and the injury sidelined him for 12 days before he could start running again. Although the injury resulted in a slower-than-usual time, Lodico said he was happy to complete the race.
“I usually do a 12-week cycle, but I started feeling soreness on the inside of my left knee,” Lodico said. “I tried to run as much as I could on the weekends, and I knew going in that I wouldn’t run my usual time, but I wanted to finish because I had been training hard and I knew that it was a rare opportunity. I went out there and I was happy to complete the race.”
Lodico has always enjoyed running, but his desire to compete in marathons didn’t spark until four years ago. He said he normally tries to run one marathon in the spring and one in the fall. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic setting his schedule back, Lodico said he will be looking to compete in the next Boston Marathon, currently scheduled for April 19, 2021.
“I always wanted to run marathons, so I decided four years ago that I would give them a try,” Lodico said. “I caught the buzz and I’ve stuck with them ever since. Running helps me stay in shape and I enjoy being out on the road. I like seeing the sites and there are always people driving by who wave at me, as well as other runners who I can build camaraderie with.”