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Dustin Monke, Published April 19 2010

Ficek set to run Boston Marathon

DICKINSON, N.D. – Dion Ficek will finally run down a dream today.

That’s when the 41-year-old Dickinson chiropractor will participate in the pinnacle of American distance running as he joins 25,000 others for his first Boston Marathon.

“I can’t wait,” Ficek said.

Ficek, who has run three marathons and more than a dozen half-marathons, snuck into the Boston Marathon by the thinnest of margins.

He qualified for the Boston Marathon at the 2008 Twin Cities Marathon, where he finished the 26.2-mile race in 3 hours, 19 minutes, 59 seconds. The qualifying time for the 40-45 men’s age bracket at the Boston Marathon is 3 hours, 20 minutes.

Ficek said, in the 2008 race, he took his time in the final mile – it took him about 11 minutes – so he could enjoy the crowds.

The mass of spectators may be the aspect of the Boston Marathon Ficek is anticipating the most.

“The city of Boston shuts down for the Boston Marathon,” Ficek said. “One runner in Runner’s World described the Boston Marathon as a 26.2-mile rock concert. So there’s crowds along the sides. It’s going to be fun.”

Ficek said spectators are also his greatest motivator while he’s on the course.

“It keeps you going, it keeps you motivated when your leg starts cramping, or when you think you can’t go another mile, somebody cheers you on and it just gives you the extra will to keep going,” Ficek said.

There are 34 North Dakotans registered to run the Boston Marathon this year, but Ficek is the only person from west of Bismarck registered.

He is one of only a handful of Dickinson people to ever participate in the event that has been called the Super Bowl for runners.

Roger Fischer, a 65-year-old former champion runner from Dickinson, ran the Boston Marathon in 1978, 1979 and 1981.

Fischer’s best advice for Ficek?

Even if you think you start slow, you’re still probably going too fast.

“Every time, you always start off too fast. That’s kind of true with any marathon,” Fischer said. “Just relax and enjoy it. Just slow down and stay within yourself.”

Ficek recently concluded a rigorous 20-week training program to gear up for the race and said he’s ran about 760 miles since January.

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Ficek said.

He’s also on his third pair of shoes this year — a small price to pay for one’s dream.

Dustin Monke is a reporter at The Dickinson (N.D.) Press, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.