The conclusion of Dr. Troy Ivey’s fifth consecutive Boston Marathon was almost an hour old when he learned a terrorist bombing had killed and injured others.
Ivey joined New River Medical Center last May as a full-time general surgeon. New River recently affiliated with St. Cloud-based CentraCare Health System.
“The explosions happened about 50 minutes after I had finished,” Ivey said, adding he and his wife, Grace, had dropped their rental car off at the airport and were getting ready to catch a flight home when they started receiving text messages and phone calls from family and friends wanting to know if they were OK.
Ivey credits plans for tight post-race departure for keeping the couple out of harm’s way.
He’d already crossed the finish line, been awarded his participation medal, heat-shield wrap, water and other goodies and showered after stopping at a nearby fitness center.
“After you cross the finish line, race officials keep you moving down Boylston Street,” he said, referring to the major east-west thoroughfare that runs through the city.
“Eventually, you take a right hand to another street to get your clothes and other items that you checked in at the starting line. I was already through that process [when the two blasts occurred].”
Ivey completed the race in 3 hours and 20 minutes.
“That’s the fastest time I’ve run in Boston Marathon,” Ivey said Tuesday.
He added: “It was a perfect and beautiful day for running. It was about 50 degrees, light winds and a mix of clouds.”
He and Grace arrived home Monday night around midnight. Ivey was back at work Tuesday morning.
“This trip, I had a tight time frame to finish the race, get showered up and back to the airport and get on out of there,” Ivey said.
“If we would have hung around much longer, our flight might have been delayed. Thankfully, I was done and out of the area, because the location of one of the explosions is quite near where Grace usually watches me race.”
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered restricted airspace over Boston, and issued a temporary ground stop for Boston’s Logan International Airport.
A ground stop is a prohibition issued to all aircraft at an airport against departing and possibly landing.
Ivey said the marathon remains an elite and special race for many runners, including himself.
“It’s an event I always look forward to, because a lot of it has to do with the qualifying,” he said. “Runners put in a lot of effort to qualify. When we come together at this event, there’s a common bond. The day started out with so much beauty, fun and exuberance and turned into a tragedy. Next year, much as we want it to be the same Boston Marathon, it will be changed forever.”
The Boston Marathon is always held on Patriots’ Day, the third Monday of April.
Begun in 1897, and inspired by the success of the first modern-day marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics, the race is the world’s oldest annual marathon. Amateur and professional runners from all over the world compete in the Marathon each year, braving the hilly New England terrain and varying weather conditions to participate.
“About the only thing I could compare the event to in Minnesota is some communities celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a similar, highly festive way,” Ivey said. “That’s about the closest thing I could come up with.”
The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) has managed the racing event since 1897.
The Boston Marathon attracts 500,000 spectators each year.
The race organization’s executive director, Thomas Grilk, issued the following statement of community support Tuesday in a website posting: “What was intended to be a day of joy and celebration quickly became a day in which running a marathon was of little importance,” he stated, adding: “The Boston Marathon is a deeply held tradition – an integral part of the fabric and history of our community. Boston is strong. We are committed to continuing that tradition with the running of the 118th Boston Marathon in 2014. We would like to thank the countless people from around the world who have reached out to support us over the last 24 hours.”
Ivey’s participation in his fifth consecutive Boston Marathon was part of a much larger personal mission.
He’s currently two states shy of having participated in marathons in each of the 50 states.
Ivey’s seven-year racing odyssey is set to end later this year with marathon events in Nebraska (May 5) and Iowa (June 8).
“I’ve been doing it as a fundraiser for a small Catholic school that my kids attend back in their hometown of Storm Lake, Iowa,” Ivey said.
His goal is raising about $35,000 in pledges.
“Five years ago, I used the Boston Marathon as my race for the state of Massachusetts,” Ivey said, adding he usually runs anywhere from 8 to 10 miles every day to stay in top racing form.
“I’ll do a longer run, 14 to 20 miles, on one of the weekend days.” he said. “It works easier for me to stay trained up all the time, since I do eight marathons a year.”
Ivey said he has a place to live in Monticello that works out well for him during the week.
“I want people to know I’m committed to the community of Monticello,” he said. “The only time that I’m gone is when I’m not on-call. I take a couple of weekends out of the month and go back home. Otherwise, I’m here full-time. I’m kind of half-and-half,” Ivey added, referring to his Monticello living and working schedule as well as his officially being registered for this year’s Boston Marathon as an Iowa resident.
“It’s a great, traditional race. It’s hurtful and seems so senseless why any individual or individuals would do such a thing,” Ivey said, referring to the two bomb blasts that occured Monday afternoon.
“Despite what’s happened, we won’t be discouraged. I have a qualifying time for next year, and I’ll probably be there next year” he said. “We’ll run that much harder and cheer that much louder.”
Contact Managing Editor Tim Hennagir at [email protected]