The distance is done, but they’re not

Feet rhythmically drumming on the pavement, breathing at a steady pace. Sweat trickling down like raindrops on a window. Exhaustion creeps nearer as each agonizing but rewarding step brings the finish closer and closer. Side-by-side Serena Gallagher and John “Jacey” Klein V crossed the finish line of the Burlington Marathon on May 28, 2006. Just like their months of training leading up to it, the running duo moved toward their goal, placing each step down together in triumphant stride.

“We did very well for our first marathon,” a smiling Gallagher said of their 4:26:08 overall time for the 26.2 mile run. “The best feeling ever was crossing that finish line and knowing I accomplished something major.”

During the 13 weeks of training, the time goal of four hours that they had discussed seemed to becoming a little more out of reach in Jacey’s eyes and he became pessimistic about the goal. Although happy with their time Klein said, “It was not quite as good as we could have done. We could definitely break four hours.”

Both runners agreed that next time they will train longer and harder. And yes there will be a next time.

“If you asked me right after I would have probably said no,” Klein said when asked if he will ever run another marathon. Serena, however, never had a doubt.

“Heck yeah,” she said, like it were the craziest question in the world to ask.

The Castleton Cross-Country Team coach, John Klein – Jacey’s father — said many marathon runners take several weeks off from running following a marathon. Serena and Jacey were back on the road hearing their feet against the terrain only a few days after.

“Time wise I thought that they did great,” Klein said, adding that hip pain Gallagher suffered during training made her cut some training runs short. “They ran a smart race.”

The hip pain did not prevent Gallagher from continuing her training, however, and she never stopped running during the marathon.

“My entire body was screaming in pain, but you almost forget the pain while running,” she said.

The pain was buffered some by the energy both were able to gain from the cheering crowds lining the streets.

“The level of excitement was much higher, people everywhere .” Jacey Klein said, describing the feeling of standing on the start line with adrenaline pumping.

“All the people around gave off positive energy by cheering,” Gallagher said, with her marathon race number tacked to her wall next to a photograph of her and two friends on race day.

“My family and friends were there cheering me on,” she said. “It was more than I expected, so many people, it was so much fun.”

Klein also said having family and friends present helped keep him stay motivated, but there was someone else who helped too.

“Serena kept me motivated . I don’t think I would have done as well without Serena,” he said, adding that when he stopped to walk at watering stations, she kept running.

Proud of her accomplishment Gallagher said, “I now call myself a marathon runner. It’s so cool.”

“I couldn’t stop smiling once they put that medal around my neck,” Klein said proudly. “I was hungry too.

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