With the rainy streets of Boston packed with a half-million people, the roar of the crowd was a pleasant, deafening tone for some of the most dedicated athletes from across the globe.
Every year, hundreds of runners flock to the city to participate in one of the world’s most famous distance events in April — the Boston Marathon.
Among them was one of Jackson County’s own, Seymour’s Nathan Frey.
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With his wife, kids, parents and brother on scene, Frey lined up awaiting the gun.
This was the pinnacle of his running career, a dream coming to fruition.
“The atmosphere is kind of hard to explain,” Frey said. “There is just so much energy in the air. The people surrounding the runners is very kind and excited about the event. There’s a really good energy.
“It’s very loud from beginning to end. The weather wasn’t the best on Marathon Monday. The temperature was in the mid-40s, and it was windy and a bit rainy. Even with the conditions, the streets were packed. It’s a good feeling. The people are so wonderful and caring. To hear that roar from the beginning to the end of a marathon is something I’ve never experienced before.”
For the race, Frey ran a time of 3 hours, 23 minutes.
For Frey, his personal time wasn’t of importance. It was the chance to live the dream.
“For me, it was more about just experiencing it,” Frey said. “I knew that this race was probably not going to be a personal record. For me, it took several years to get there, so the pressure was kind of off. I feel like there will be other marathons to set a personal record. I just wanted to take it in.”
To qualify for the Boston Marathon, Frey had to have completed a 26.2-mile race in 3 hours and 10 minutes or less.
Last year, Frey qualified for the 2015 Boston Marathon by running a marathon in Virgina Beach in 3 hours and 7 minutes and again in Carmel at 3 hours and 8 minutes.
Frey, a 1994 Seymour High School graduate, didn’t run in high school.
The Seymour city engineer said he picked up running in his late 20s as a means of exercising.
When he’s training for marathons, Frey typically runs 50 to 70 miles a week.
“You kind of just get hooked on it,” Frey said. “Once I started hitting some short-term goals, and I decided the Boston Marathon is the peak of marathoning. After running between 10 and 15 marathons, I decided this year was the year.”
Almost every morning, at 4 a.m., Frey parks at Seymour High School before typically running with fellow ’94 alum Ryan Holle.
While they never ran together in high school, the duo found common interest in fast cars and trap shooting.
“We were in a trap shooting club together, had things in common, like hot-rod type cars,” Holle said. “I never thought we would be running together like this. I had heard he’d been running a couple years ago, and I called him up and asked where he ran and such. He said, ‘How about tomorrow?’ He had been in a dry spell and needed to get back. He’s good motivation to run with.”
While Holle has never run a marathon, he said he hopes to run in a half-marathon in the near future.
“I was pretty excited and happy for him (about the Boston Marathon),” Holle said. “It was pretty nice to say you run with someone who is doing that. It’s kind of an epic thing that he did that. It kind of gives me motivation to go further.”
Frey said he enjoys running with friends but often hits the streets by himself.
“I do most of it on my own just because my wife and I work full time, and we have a couple of younger kids at home,” Frey said. “It’s a time thing.”
This year’s Boston Marathon marked two years since the terrorist attack in Copley Square.
While Frey didn’t know anyone there who was affected by the bombing, he said the event was still fresh in many runners’ minds.
“I didn’t talk to anyone personally that was involved in the tragedy,” Frey said. “However, on the Saturday before the race, we walked Boylston Street where the bombs went off, and there’s a presence you can feel.
“There were people there at the race I would assume were a part of the tragedy because they were amputees. There was a feeling and presence that something happened. The running community is very tight-knit, and you can feel for those people.”
This October, Frey said he plans on running the Chicago Marathon. Frey said that his goal is to run all of the major marathons — Tokyo, Berlin, London and New York — before he turns 50 in 11 years.
And until his next race, Frey will hit the streets of Seymour in the early hours of the morning.