Thousands lined up in Fair Park on Dec. 5, ready to run the Dallas White Rock Marathon. Three hours, 11 minutes and 22 seconds and 26.2 miles later junior Weston Sandfort crossed the finish line.
Sandfort placed 19th overall, finishing before 1,614 other runners at a pace of 7:18 per mile.
“I ran it because I have always wanted to run a marathon,” Sandfort said. “My dad ran his first marathon at age 40 when I was in about sixth grade, and I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Marathon running inspired me to join cross country, so I have always wanted to run one. I actually decided to do this particular marathon last minute though – only about two weeks before Thanksgiving Break.”
Before running this, the junior ran a 15-mile long run three weeks before the race and an 18-mile one the following week before resting over the break.
“It was an 8.2 mile jump from that [the 18-mile] run to the marathon,” Sandfort said.
The runner was 23 seconds away from qualifying from the Boston Marathon which required a time of 3:10.59.
“I felt like with a little more training I could have broken three hours, but overall, I am happy because this is my first marathon,” Sandfort said. “Anyways, I am a year too young [to run the Boston Marathon]. I plan on continuing to do cross country, even into college if I am good enough, and I want to do several more marathons.”
Coppell High School HOSA was also present at this event, continuing a tradition started years ago. As volunteers, the group of students prepared water and Gatorade for the runners at Aid Station 14.
“We had two tables – one with just water and the other with Gatorade,” senior HOSA president Janice Kim said. “On these tables, we stacked layers of filled cups that we later held when we [the volunteers] were lined up. The runners usually grab, drink and drop their cups along the course, and we are responsible for picking up that trash and cleaning up.”
In previous years, HOSA has received the most spirited Aid Station award – voted on by the runners after they finish – and hopes to obtain it once more. However, the Dallas White Rock Marathon is more than just a volunteering opportunity.
“It is a great way to bond with the members,” senior HOSA secretary Audrey Eichenberger said. “There are 94 people in the club, so there is no time to get to know one another. This is the perfect opportunity for us to talk and help the community at the same time.”