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Darren's Boston To Big Sur Adventure

Boston to Big Sur: the adventure not many runners take on. Running two marathons so close together is definitely a challenge. Not only is the distance tough to tackle, but both of these courses have their fair share of hills, making them even tougher than other marathon courses. You must really love distance running to conquer these two. We know Darren DeMatoff, CARA Board Member and Montrose Sunday Site Coordinator, loves running even more than most. He was up for the challenge.

The Boston Marathon took place on April 15th, 2019. This was Darren’s first Boston ever! He had worked hard for years to get here and he crossed that finish line with a huge smile. He also knew he had to run the Big Sur Marathon less than two weeks later on April 28th, 2019. We had a few questions for him about his experience. Here is what it was like:

What motivated you to sign up for two marathons so close together?

I was ecstatic when I finally qualified for Boston. Over the years, my thoughts had morphed from “that would be cool to qualify one day” to “I’m going to work for this” to “I think I can do this” to “I’m doing it!”. After 20 years of marathon running and 5 years of seriously working to qualify, I did. I was over the moon excited and I basically said yes to everything. Having known people that have done the Boston to Big Sur Challenge (and loved it), I just said “I need to do this too.” I did not really think about the reality of running 2 marathons back to back. I was just in my euphoric state of YES!

How were you feeling going into Big Sur so soon after Boston?

Surprisingly, I felt pretty recovered going into Big Sur. This year the 2 marathons were 13 days apart, so it was not like the truly crazy challenge of only 6 days. All of my focus and training was for Boston. I wasn’t thinking about Big Sur. It wasn’t until the Tuesday morning after Boston, that it really hit me…”I’m running Big Sur in less than 2 weeks.” At that point it was too late to worry about it. I knew a few other people running B2B, as well as some Chicagoans running the relay. So, my attitude was to soak it all in, take pictures, enjoy every moment, spend time with friends and hopefully finish with a respectable time.

What was the biggest challenge for you with two marathons in a row?

I have taken so much time off from work and have spent so much money on running since the fall, it is ridiculous. I have always loved how accessible and affordable running is. Don’t look to me as proof of this over the last year. My biggest challenges have been remaining focused at work and not going broke!

Dare we ask - which race did you like better?

That is such a hard one. I love the majors: The excitement, the people, the organization. Then you throw in the history of Boston, and all of the hard work that you and so many thousands of others have gone through to get there, not to mention running the same course that has been run for over 120 years, the pride of the city, all the spectators…the vibe and energy are off the charts. I am thrilled to have been part of this historic event. Two weeks later, I arrived at Big Sur. It was magical…from the 4 AM bus ride to the start, waiting in the woods while the sun slowly rose, running through the state parks, and finally emerging out of the redwoods to the coastline. Seeing the vast ocean and the waves crashing on the shore, was awe-inspiring. I loved this race more than I ever imagined I would. I do not know which of the two I liked better, but they were both incredible, and I plan on returning to both again!

What was your favorite moment from the Boston Marathon?

For both races, the hills were really a great challenge. I had only run flat marathons previously. Training for the hills, and then taking them on was a huge accomplishment. Doing all of the work and seeing the results, has me realize how far I’ve come as a runner. The sense of accomplishment and knowing what is possible if you put your mind to it, is one of the great benefits of running. And, it never gets old.

What's next on your goal list?

My upcoming goals include completing the majors (I have London and New York left), requalifying for Boston 2020, and to set a new PR of 3:15.

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Darren. What an incredible month April was for you. We cannot wait to see what you accomplish next.

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