HARTSDALE, N.Y. – Brian Wilantowicz remembers watching his first Boston Marathon as a senior in college nearly 20 years ago, and the experience was so inspiring that he bragged to friends that he would run the world-famous event.
“I always ran to stay in shape for sports in high school but I was never really a ‘runner,’” Wilantowicz said just prior to this year’s Boston Marathon run. “In my senior year of college, I watched the Boston Marathon. I felt like it was something I had to try. My friends didn't think I would do it so I had to prove them wrong. I ran the Boston Marathon ‘unofficially’ the following year.”
Wilantowicz, 40, a physical therapist at Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, learned how formidable the Boston challenge was in that first run and says he was hooked on the race from the start. He followed his first Boston effort with the New York City Marathon and has run 15 more since. He has also run more than 50 half-marathons along the way.
“I run year-round but I usually follow a typical training regimen of about 16-18 weeks before a marathon after establishing a base,” he said of his training method. “I try to do at least 40-50 miles per week at my peak, with about six long runs of 18-22 miles, if possible. Ideally, I do track intervals, tempo runs, marathon pace runs and some hill workouts.”
His life now filled with family and career, Wilantowicz said he has had to “juggle” things to train for Monday’s Boston try, but he has a support group that should help make the experience fulfilling. He hopes to run the marathon in less than three hours and will run two more marathons this year.
“The course is fairly difficult, with the hills toward the end, and now we are expecting 80-plus degree temperatures, so that will not help matters,” he said. “I am hoping to run around 3:15 or better. I know the great crowd in Boston will help and I usually think of my family while I am running, especially my wife and daughter — Kathy and young Kiersten — who are my cheerleaders. They provide inspiration.”
“I would like to run under 3:00 this year,” Wilantowicz said. “I am already registered for Vermont in May and will probably do another in the fall. I normally do not run marathons so close to one another but I thought I would try something a little different this year.”
For Wilantowicz, “different” means running 26-plus miles for the 16th time.