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To the finish line: Local continues running career with first Boston Marathon

Submitted Photo Lisa Holding Eagle finishes the last leg of the Montana Marathon in Billings last September, coming in at 3 hours 27 minutes. She will run in the 118th Boston Marathon on Monday.

Watch the 118th Boston Marathon on Monday, and you just might be able to catch a glimpse of a familiar face among the 36,000 runners.

Dickinson’s Lisa Holding Eagle will participate in the 26.2-mile race, her 11th marathon since she started running them while attending Jamestown College, now known as University of Jamestown.

“I guess it’s a challenge every time, even having run 10 of them already,” she said. “It still takes a lot to prepare and to see how well you can do. It’s always an exciting experience to do that with other people.”

The 31-year-old Nalco Champion tech representative qualified at the Montana Marathon in Billings last year with a time of 3 hours, 27 minutes, and she said she’ll be aiming for a similar time in Monday’s race.

To prepare, she has been training for about four months — she runs five days a week and goes longer distances on the weekend.

“This time around it’s probably a total of 35 to 50 miles a week, depending on the week,” Holding Eagle said.

Despite being a seasoned marathon vet, she said this year’s race, “in particular, is kind of a big deal.

“I’ve always wanted to do Boston,” she said. “It’s, if not the biggest, certainly one of the biggest marathons in the U.S. So, it’s kind of a bucket-list kind of race for a lot of serious runners anyway.”

The bombing at the 2013 event didn’t deter Holding Eagle from running this year. If anything, it served as more motivation to participate, and she’s not alone. This year’s race was expanded to include 9,000 more participants, making it the second-largest field in the marathon’s history, according to the Associated Press.

“The bad guys only win if it makes you change how you’re living your life,” Holding Eagle said. “The slogan is ‘Boston Strong,’ and it makes you want to say, ‘Nobody’s going to take this away from the running community.’”

She’ll be cheered on by her husband, Travis, on the sidelines, and her 2-year-old son, James, back home.

“There are more people than ever out to support it,” she said. “It’ll be a kind of emotional event, exciting to be a part of.”

And after months of training and preparation, Holding Eagle said she’s anxious but is ready to get her number pinned on and hit the starting line.

“It’s a 26-mile long party,” she said.