The well-traveled runner
Carroll native has run in 37 marathons, but wasn't in Boston on Monday
April 19, 2013
Carroll native and Kuemper Catholic graduate Tim Stockert has run in 37 marathons. Stockert also competes in iron man competition’s and is shown here running in a triathlon representing his team Terrier Triathlon Club.
Tim Stockert has run in 12 Boston Marathons including nine since 2000. He was not at this year's marathon, but you better believe he took note of what occurred Monday afternoon.
Stockert, a Carroll native and 1985 Kuemper Catholic graduate, was in a meeting at his office in New York City when alerted to the startling report that the race had been bombed near the finish line around the four-hour mark.
Upon receiving the news via text, Stockert pulled up the New York Times website and, to his horror, saw the tragedy that had unfolded.
"It really had an affect on me and it still has an affect on me in the sense that I think it's just very tragic what happened," Stockert said. "It's such a beautiful event and it's such a celebratory day in Boston and I just feel very, very sad for not only what happened to the race, but obviously what's happened to these people who were there."
Running is Stockert's lifeblood, his passion.
He ran cross country and track while at Kuemper and parlayed his success in cross country into a scholarship to run at Creighton University. Upon graduation from Creighton, Stockert moved to Philadelphia where he lived and worked for nine years. A midwestern boy, living out east for the first time, Stockert wanted to develop a hobby to do outside of work. Working in social services, however, and making relatively little money, he decided the few resources running requires appeased his budget the most.
"All you need is a pair of running shoes, shorts and shirt and you can just run right out the door," Stockert said. "And I love running and I think it just sort of started as an inexpensive sport to do when I was living out here.
"After awhile I wanted to set a challenge for myself and wanted to set a goal. I have always enjoyed running longer distances and those sorts of things and was pretty good at it."
So Stockert's immediate aim was qualifying for the Holy Grail in the runners' world- the Boston Marathon. He worked his way up to competing in his first marathon in Maryland in 1991 called "The Last Train to Boston" which was conspicuously named for its status as the last available qualifier for the Boston Marathon.
Unfortunately Stockert, not yet adept to the art of running 26.2 miles, did not qualify as he was unable to finish the race.
"I went out far too hard on my first marathon and blew up around mile 18," he said while reflecting on a time that seemed so long ago. "I literally hit the wall at mile 18."
Stockert was still able to run in the Boston Marathon as a "bandit," however, which is someone who isn't registered for the race, doesn't have a number, but just hops in with the thousands running.
"Back in the early 90s you could get away with that," Stockert said with a laugh. "That's completely impossible to do today."
But he ran the race nonetheless and his infatuation with marathons was born.
"Boston was the second race that I did and it was the goal that kind of set me on the marathon path," he said.
It's a path that's lended itself to utter happiness for Stockert, who after graduating with a dual masters in business and social work from the University of Maryland, moved to New York in 2001 with his partner Nicholas Garramone.
Stockert, 46, met Garramone, 43, through running and the two have run alongside each other in 17 of Stockert's 37 total marathons.
The two run a comparable marathon time that is just under the three-hour mark. Stockert's fastest time is 2:50.55 in the New York City Marathon in 2010, roughly four minutes faster than Garramone's, but Stockert said his partner of 15 years is the one that helped him evolve in his training after the reality-check moment in his first marathon.
"In the early days, I didn't really have an affective method of training. I pretty much would go out almost every day or every other day for a long run early in the morning or late in the evening," Stockert said. "As I sort of evolved in my running I learned a lot more about how to train affectively for a marathon. I started doing a lot more speed work, hill work, running a lot of hills combined with what they call "tempo runs" which are runs that you do at race pace.
"Nick really taught me a lot of what I know now in running and affective marathon."
Stockert also grew as a marathoner by working with running coaches and joining running teams. He said the positive reinforcement and accountability that comes from the two is the most effective in training.
"It's just the motivation that you need, because it's difficult to try and do it on your own, and many people can, but I needed the motivation from other people," he said.
A typical week for Stockert now includes: An off day Monday, speed workouts on Tuesday, an "easy" eight to 10 mile run on Wednesday, a rest day Thursday, a tempo-run Friday, a shorter "recovery run" Saturday and a long run - anywhere from 12 to 22 miles - on Sunday. He also mixes in swimming and biking, due to the benefits of cross training.
"I don't run every single day, mostly because I just think it has a lot of wear and tear on your legs," he explained. "And especially if you're doing a hard sprint workout one day, you need to give your body time to recover."
Stockert, who described his running group as a "tight-knit community" and was able to confirm that all of his friends who competed were unharmed, said he had dozens of calls, texts and emails from friends and family inquiring to see if he and Garramone were at the race Monday in Boston.
Even if he had been, his last Boston Marathon in 2011 he ran a personal best time of 2:55.29, which is more than an hour ahead of when the bombings took place at the finish line.
But that didn't ease Stockert's sudden uneasiness Monday night as he mourned the events that occurred, but also played the "what if" game in in his head.
"I woke up on Monday night, since I've done this race so many times and couldn't get back to sleep. I woke up about 4 a.m. and it was really weighing very, very heavily on me."
That said, he emphasized that he and his group of marathon friends are steadfast in their passion and the events in Boston on Monday will not dissuade them from competing in future marathons. But Stockert is worried it may influence the casual runner from entering into big-city marathons like Boston or New York.
"If somebody asked me tomorrow if I planned on running in the Boston Marathon I'd say absolutely," said Stockert with conviction. "I don't know about the general running community. I fear that this may turn some people away from wanting to do at least the large cities marathons where there are lots of people.
"Given the American spirit, my gut says that people are going to move forward on this though and do so in a very positive way."
Stockert enjoys life in the Upper West Side in Manhattan, the perks of living in the nation's largest city and jokes about sharing his backyard of Central Park with nine million other people.
But also tells of the times he would come back to visit his parents Bob and Joyce, who have since moved to Portland, and frequent the outer roads for runs where he would encounter an unfamiliar sight.
"People would drive by and wave at me and I would sort of do a double take and be like, 'huh, why are they waving at me?' And then I suddenly realized, 'oh wait, I'm not in New York City anymore, people are friendly out here," Stockert said with a laugh. "And not that they're not friendly in New York City, but we joke that if you waved at everybody you ran by or drove by in New York City, you'd never get anywhere."
Stockert says he's recreated that small-town feel with his running community. And along with the health benefits and lucrative travel - his most recent race was at Miami in December - his favorite part of running is the people.
"I met my partner Nick through running and the group of friends that I have here are absolutely amazing. These people are driven like many of us and set high goals for themselves and challenge each other. After runs we hang out together, drink together and have fun together, so it's really just like Carroll for me because it's a wonderful and tight-knit community," Stockert said. "It's hard to believe that I've been able to recreate that in a city that's so enormous. But I can go out into Central Park and do a loop, which is six miles, and run into a half a dozen people that I know. It brings me great joy that I know them all."
Stockert said he and Garramone are scoping out marathons for the summer and will both run in the New York City marathon in November and said he has no plans of curbing his marathon craving anytime soon. After all it's what led him to his current state of euphoria.
"I love it too much," he said. "As long as I can remain healthy and don't have any dangerous injuries or anything, I plan on doing marathons for many years."
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