Dustin Hinkle, 28
When I failed to walk onto my college soccer team in 2004, I started running as another way to stay fit. My father is a runner, so I followed the family tradition. I ran my first half marathon in 2006, followed by my first marathon a year later in a disappointing time. At the 2012 Santa Rosa Marathon I finished in 3:05:03, falling an excruciating three seconds short of qualifying for the 2013 Boston Marathon. I set my PR in March 2013 in my fifth marathon, running a 2:57:02 at the Napa Valley Marathon and qualifying for this year’s race.
Why are you running the 2014 Boston Marathon?
My father, a sergeant at the Lakewood, Colo., Police Department, was one of the first responders to the Columbine High School shootings in April 1999. I still remember the cuts from broken glass on my father’s forearms and what it felt like to watch him answering questions on the news. Even though I failed to qualify for the 2013 Boston Marathon, my dad ended up being thankful that I was not in Boston for the race. I will be running my first Boston Marathon in part to honor my father and all the first responders who have acted with heroism in tragic circumstances.
What part of the course/event are you most looking forward to?
I am most excited to see my nephew cheering along the course and to celebrate with my family after the race. I am also looking forward to experiencing the legendary cheering college students and the free kisses being doled out by the Wellesley College girls.
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What does “Boston Strong” mean to you?
After Columbine, our community rallied around the phrase “We Are All Columbine.” I feel Boston Strong captures a similar spirit that can be found throughout our nation’s history. At times of our worst vulnerability, we are driven to rally together in a display of unwavering strength through unity.
Who is coming out to support you this year?
My father, sister, handsome nephew, beautiful girlfriend and her father will all be coming out to Boston to support me this year. I am fortunate to have such an amazing support crew joining me in Boston.
What is your race-day goal?
I want to set a new marathon PR and run a sub-2:55. If the weather is not conducive to a PR, then I want to place better than my bib number: 3214. Lastly, I want to make an effort to remember my five favorite hand-made signs from the course.