U student, alumnus meet goals at Twin Cities Marathon

The marathon stretched 26.2 miles from the Metrodome to the State Capitol.

Brady Averill

Past and present University students laced up their running shoes Sunday, joining approximately 10,000 people in the 23rd annual Twin Cities Marathon.

After months of training, business senior Justin Porter and graduate Nate Herrington set the goal months ago and finished simultaneously at 3:51:13. Herrington finished 1,059 and Porter was 1,060.

From the Metrodome, they ran the 26.2-mile-long trek to the State Capitol, where they finished, exhausted.

Pain and fatigue aside, they were together.

Reasons for running the marathon vary. Some do it for the glory of finishing. Others say they race to endure exhaustion and simply finish the marathon.

For Porter and Herrington, the friends said, it was about setting a goal and accomplishing it.

Mission accomplished

The friends started running to relieve stress and stay fit, they said. But running a marathon is a lot different than going for a morning jog.

“It’s something that I felt was challenging, physically, mentally,” said Porter, a first-time marathon runner.

“It’s something I always wanted to do,” he said.

The 2004 Twin Cities Marathon was Herrington’s third time in the competition.

“After I did it the first time, I decided right there I would continue to run Twin Cities (Marathon) as long as I could,” he said. “It’s my plan to do it annually until I can’t physically do it anymore.”

Running in marathons isn’t as tough as people might think, Herrington said, especially with thousands of spectators cheering on the sidelines.

After crossing the finish line, he said Sunday’s marathon was more difficult than the last couple times.

“It was the hardest but definitely the most rewarding,” Herrington said.

Still, he said he’d run again next year. Porter, who felt delirious, wasn’t so sure, he said.

Porter said that around mile 22 he “wanted to die.”

He said it’d be a while before he would consider running another marathon.

Before the marathon, the two said they decided on an eight-minute pace. They tried to stick to it, but had some trouble at the end – when they both cramped up, the friends said.

“We made it. It’s the big thing,” Herrington said.

The leg cramps were so painful, they were indescribable, Porter said.

But the friends got into the “zone,” keeping each other going, Porter said.

“It feels like you’re in a dream,” Herrington said.

Running in a marathon requires a combination of physical and mental strength, he said.

“There’s a lot of psychology behind it,” he said.

Training

As a marathon veteran, Herrington took Porter, a marathon rookie, under his wing while preparing for the race, he said.

Though their conflicting schedules didn’t allow them to train together, they said they both slowly increased the number of miles they would run each week.

Finding time to train is more difficult than it was during college, said Herrington, a full-time consultant.

On Sept. 26, they ran 18 miles together. It was Porter’s longest distance, he said.

A beautiful run

At 8 a.m. Sunday, runners lined up near the Metrodome. The route wound around Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet, before meandering around Lake Nokomis and the Mississippi River.

Some say the marathon is famous for its scenery and the colors a Minnesota fall spawns.

But after a few miles, scenery no longer matters, Herrington said. At that point, it’s all about finishing, he said.

“It’s not about the end, it’s about the journey,” Herrington and Porter said.