Taming ‘the hill’: Dickinson’s Nicki Fath ready for once-in-a-lifetime run at Boston MarathonNicki Fath isn’t over the hill yet — figuratively or metaphorically.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Nicki Fath isn’t over the hill yet — figuratively or metaphorically.
On Monday, the 39-year-old Dickinson runner expects to attain her goal of running in, and finishing, the Boston Marathon before her 40th birthday.
“I started about three years ago, wanting to get there by the time I was 40 and I turn 40 in August so I did it,” Fath said with a smile.
While Fath is running in the most notable of American marathon events, she isn’t one for notoriety.
“I think it’s probably everyone’s ultimate goal, although I’m kind of more keep to myself about it,” Fath said.
It’s hard to miss Fath around town though.
If she isn’t swimming, in a fitness class or putting in treadmill time at the West River Community Center, she’s blazing trails along Dickinson’s streets and roads.
In fact, it’s her outdoor training that Fath hopes can give her an extra edge in Boston.
Dickinson runners who have ran the Boston Marathon said hometown training helped them conquer the course, which is known for rolling hills.
For all the notoriety associated with “Heartbreak Hill” — the slight vertical climb on mile 20 of the Boston Marathon regarded as a spot where many strong runners “hit the wall” — Dickinson chiropractor Dion Ficek said running downhill was what really bothered him when he ran the marathon in 2010.
“That was a piece of cake compared to all the downhills that you had to do,” Ficek said. “Those downhills just take a toll on your legs after a while.”
Fath has been steadily gearing up for Boston since qualifying for the event with a time of 3 hours, 35 minutes, 58 seconds at last year’s Fargo Marathon, an extremely flat course.
“Fargo is flat,” she said. “I would tell anyone that if you want to qualify for Boston, go there.”
Fath has run nearly a dozen marathons and they’ve all been in the upper Midwest. She’s run in Fargo, the Twin Cities (Minn.) Marathon and the Deadwood (S.D.) Mickelson Trail Marathon.
Though hills are a big part of the Twin Cities and Deadwood courses, Fath has turned to a variety of exercises to help her prepare for what one of her training partners believes could be her best marathon time yet.
Fath’s typical training week includes swimming, weights with Healthy Results personal trainer Natasha Ash and working out at “boot camp,” a circuit training workout organized by Wilson McLaughlin, the recreation supervisor at the West River Community Center.
“Most of us, we set goals and we either half do it or we fulfill them,” McLaughlin said. “For her, she had a goal and she did it. It’s going to show in her run coming up this week. I think she’s going to do better than she thinks she is.”
Fath said she knows there’s a chance she could set a personal record in Boston. However, she’s not too worried about that.
She said she just wants to enjoy the run, adding “I’ll never get back there.”
“I feel like with all the energy that will be around, I possibly could, but I’m not going to be disappointed if I don’t because I’m in Boston and I can worry about times other places,” Fath said with a smile. “I don’t know if I want to there.”