Volk Mentally Ready for Boston Marathon

by | Apr 1, 2004 | News Articles

April, 2004 Fit to be Tied Column

From the Pueblo Chieftain
by Gary Franchi


Volk Mentally Ready for Boston Marathon

Unless you are an elite runner, you normally don’t go to the Boston Marathon with any delusions of grandeur. This isn’t a race that produces many personal records (PRs).

Because of its tradition and qualifying time requirement based on age, “Boston” is more of a revered event, an epic career achievement for those runners who are fortunate and talented enough to earn a spot at the starting line.

Among the Puebloans running this year’s April 19 race in Beantown will be Larry Volk, 40, who actually had qualified for Boston before. But this will be his first attempt at running it.

Volk qualified this year first by running a 3:21 at the New York City Marathon, but he was even more stellar in last September’s American Discovery Trail Marathon, where he was clocked in 3:07.

Despite battling an upper-respiratory illness the past few weeks, Volk is trained, fit and ready to run the 26.2-mile distance. And because of his experience with running before masses of cheering crowds along the route at the New York City race, he’s got the proper mental framework in place at approach it properly.

“I’m not worried about a PR or anything like that,” Volk said earlier this week as he began tapering for Boston. “I just want to run a good race and feel good at the finish.

“A lot of people go there and they start off trying to go too fast, but you need to be smart early in the race,” he added, pointing out that the huge crowds along the entire course cause runners to abandon their racing plans. “It’s really mostly a mental thing – you can fatigue mentally.”

One of the key mental obstacles to overcome is the long wait before the race. At New York, Volk was bused to an area near the starting line six hours before the race began. By the time the marathon started, he was cooked and his energy was depleted.

The situation at Boston is similar, with runners having hours to kill after they are bused to the start. Drawing on his experience, Volk feels he will be ready for the long wait this time.

“I bought a sleeping bag that I’ll take with me to keep warm before the race,” Volk explained of his strategy. “The important thing is to manage your time properly before the race.”

If his master plan falls into place and Volk runs a conservatively smart first half and has plenty of energy left in the tank, he does have a lofty goal in mind.

“I’ve got 2:55 on my refrigerator,” he said with a laugh.

That would be a notable achievement, especially since his marathon PR is a 3:04 that he ran in his first attempt – the old Pueblo River Trail Marathon.

Other local runners hoping to enjoy the Boston experience are Marcy Epperson of Canon City, Marijane Martinez of Pueblo and Jill Montera of Pueblo West. Epperson, 31, qualified with a 3:31 at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Arizona, Martinez, 51, ran a 4:03 in St. George (Utah) and Montera, 37, sped to a 3:39 in the Houston Marathon.

Other participants with local ties running Boston are Stacy Biernacki of Cincinnati and Stella Heffron of Parker. Both ran for cross country teams at what was then the University of Southern Colorado.

Biernacki , 33, qualified with a 3:39 in the Honolulu Marathon. Heffron, 37, ran a superb 3:07 in the Chicago Marathon.

Pueblo’s Katherine Frank Dvorsky, 32, who recorded a 3:24 time at Boston two years ago, opted to skip the 2004 race and focus on shorter-distance running and biking.


  • The warmer weather and, even more, the switch to Daylight Savings Time can only mean one thing — endurance athletes have more available light after work to train for the upcoming multi-sport season. The local campaign will begin with the annual Y-Bi Classic duathlon on April 18 at the Pueblo West Fire Station #2 on Avenida del Oro.
    The run-bike-run format adopted a couple of years ago has proved to be popular and has been retained. A list of entrants is updated often on the Y-Bi web site, which is accessible from the Southern Colorado Runners’ (SCR) web site. Gerald Puls, who at 78 years young is Pueblo’s version of legendary exercise guru Jack LaLanne, is among those signed up and ready to race.
  • On the near horizon is the Ordinary Mortals Triathlon, a sprint-distance event which runs over two days, with the women’s event on May 15 and the men’s the following day. The women’s field is filling fast, while the men’s field still has some room for those still considering whether to compete. Information and a list of entrants also is available from the SCR web site.


  • Cañon City native Hallie Janssen ran a strong race in the U.S. women’s Olympic marathon trials that were held last Saturday in St. Louis. Hallie was timed in 2:55:02, her third fastest marathon. The race came less than two months after she had qualified for the trials by running a superb 2:46 in the Motorola Austin Marathon on Feb. 15.
  • Former Puebloan Maddy Tormoen, now living in Colorado Springs, passed up the trials after making the decision to concentrate on developing her racing speed rather than training for the marathon distance. Tormoen, 41, had qualified for the trials by running a 2:45 Houston Marathon in January 2003, and that time is among the fastest in the country by a masters division women.
  • Marv Bradley of Cañon City and Cheryl Cook-McCoy of Salida continued their 2004 marathon odyssey by finishing the Eisenhower Marathon in Abilene, Kan., last month. Bradley, 65, was third in his age division with a time of 4:10. Cook-McCoy, 57, finished in 5:45.

Running notes

  • Hope you weren’t waiting to register for the Pikes Peak Ascent because both waves of the August 21 race are completely filled already. Meanwhile, the Pikes Peak Marathon the following day is already more than 70 percent filled.
  • Note that the Cinco de Mayo Run for the Rose, scheduled for May 2 at the Colorado State Fairgrounds, has added a 5K to go with the traditional 10K run and 2K walk. The starting time for the race has been bumped up a half-hour to 7:30 to accommodate the extra division.


  • CSU-Pueblo is again conducting the X-Challenge on April 17 for coed teams that want to test their strength and fitness levels in a relay competition. This is no ordinary fitness test, and participants must be at least 18 years old. The events include mountain biking, wall climbing, kayaking/running and a ropes test.

Upcoming Area Races

  • Saturday – Ramsgate 8, 8K, 8 a.m., 8 Ramsgate in Belmont (544-9633).
  • April 17 – CSU-Pueblo X Challenge, multi-event relay, 549-2381.
  • April 18 – Y-Bi Classic Duathlon, 2.5M run, 11.2M bike, 3M run, 9 a.m., Pueblo West (543-5151).
  • April 25 – Yappy Dog Run (Prediction Series race), 8M, 8:30 a.m., South Mesa Elementary School (543-6982).
  • May 2 – Cinco de Mayo Run for the Rose, 5K & 10K run and 2K walk, 7:30 a.m., Colorado State Fairgrounds (564-7685).
  • May 15 – Ordinary Mortals Triathlon for women, 525Mtr swim, 12M bike, 3M run, 6:45 a.m., Pueblo Regional Center in Pueblo West (543-5151).
  • May 16 – Ordinary Mortals Triathlon for men, 525Mtr swim, 12M bike, 3M run, 7 a.m., Pueblo Regional Center in Pueblo West (543-5151).
  • May 29 – Custer 2020 Run in the Valley, 6.25K run and 1M walk, 8:15 a.m., Westcliffe (877-793-3170).
  • June 5 – Run for Rio, 5K run/walk, 8 a.m., Rye High School (719-859-5136).
  • June 26 – Little Run on the Prairie, 5K run/2K walk, 7:30 a.m., Lovell Park in Pueblo West (547-3725).

On the Net

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