OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - An Overland Park man will join thousands of others on Monday in the 118th Boston Marathon.
Bruce Gilbert, 64, started running when a teacher suggested he join the track team in school. He ran his first marathon as a college student in 1969 at the Boston Marathon.
“Three of us went from college at Baker University,” said Gilbert. “There were 1,100 runners in the whole race, you did not have to qualify and the entry fee was $2 back then.”
He even kept the shoes that he wore during that race. His mother had the red canvas sneakers with rubber soles preserved several years ago. Gilbert jokes that they didn’t know about cushioned running shoes at the time.
Gilbert has run six Boston Marathons since then. His last was 2009.
Gilbert is expecting this first race since the Boston Marathon bombing last year to be extremely emotional.
“There’s so much excitement and motivation more than ever with the runners and more of a unified spirit in the whole running community to go and be supportive,” he said.
And for Gilbert himself, it’s a special race for him. “It's 45 years of marathons,” he said.
This will be Gilbert’s 73rd marathon overall. His qualifying time was three hours and 26 minutes, about 30 minutes faster than his age’s group required time.
Gilbert believes there are about 200 runners from the Kansas City area running in this year’s Boston Marathon.