Wheeling resident places fourth in division at Boston

Walter Seamon is 73 years young.

And the life-long Wheeling resident means it when he says he’s young because that’s how he feels.

“I feel better now than I did when I was 25 years old,” Seamon laughed during a phone interview.

There’s no choice but believing him because otherwise it would be hard to fathom that a 73-year old could run the prestigious Boston Marathon in 3 hours, 44 minutes and 25 seconds like Seamon did on Monday.

“I am very happy with that time,” Seamon said. “I felt good (during the race). I didn’t leave anything on the course, either. I ran my normal race and felt good the entire way.”

Seamon’s time was good enough for fourth place in his age group, which he believed to have more than 400 competitors in it.

“I was pleased with that place,” Seamon said, though pointing out that he had finished as high as second in his divison just four years ago.

Not bad for a guy who only began running 5K races in 1993 at the urging of his son, Mark.

“Mark was training for an Ironman and I went with him,” Seamon said. “I came back and he said, ‘Dad, why don’t you run a 5K with me?’ I ran that race and basically got hooked on it.”

Seamon signed up for his first marathon in 1996 after meeting long-time running junkie Tom Rownd, who finished this year’s marathon in 4 hours, 57 minutes and 50 seconds.

“Tom had been running marathons and I saw him at a few races and told him I’d like to try one, but I wasn’t trained to do one,” Seamon recalled. “He invited me to start training with him and the group he runs with.”

Seamon accepted the invitation and then – at Rownd’s urging – decided to sign up for the Columbus Marathon with hopes of finishing and never a thought of Boston in his mind.

“I didn’t how it would work out,” Seamon said. “I ran and qualified and that happened to be the 100th anniversary of the Boston Marathon.”

Since then, Seamon has ran 34 marathons and become a staple in Beantown on Patriots Day. This past Monday was his 14th Boston Marathon.

And yes, he was in the 2013 race, which suffered a terrorist attack when two bombs exploded near the finish line. Seamon had already concluded the race, but wasn’t far removed from the scene when the explosions went off.

“No one really knew what it was when the first one went off,” Seamon said. “Then, when there was a second explosion just a couple of minutes later, people realized it wasn’t good. The response to the tragedy by the Boston officials and law enforcement was just fantastic.”

Seamon had absolutely no reservation about entering this year’s race.

“I had already qualified, so I was going back,” Seamon said. “It was unbelievable the response of the city and the crowds that came out for the race.”

Along with Boston, Seamon lists Pikes Peak as the toughest marathon he’s ran. He’s also ran at Niagara Falls and Philadelphia, but has never ran outside of the United States, which is on his to-do-list.

So how many more marathons does Seamon have left him?

“I’ll continue to run (races) until something breaks,” Seamon joked. “I don’t really know, actually. (An injuy) could happen tomorrow.”

After a few days off, Seamon will be back on the roads pounding more miles as preparations for his next 26.2 mile jaunt begin.

Seamon wasn’t the only local Boston finisher.

The top local finisher was Barnesville’s Jacob Naegeli, who was 155th overall in 2 hours, 34 minutes and six seconds.

Kristina Tomlan ran 3 hours, 48 minutes, 39 seconds. Buckeye cross country coach Diane McCracken finished in 3 hours, 46 minutes and seven seconds. Current West Liberty coach Eric Laughlin ran 3 hours, 17 minutes and 42 seconds.