HIAWATHA - He’s a veteran of numerous Boston Marathons, including the one that saw the terrorist explosions a few years ago.

      Springville boys track and field coach Tyler Husak works tirelessly each and every year to make sure he can go out and compete against the best in the world in Boston, but as we all know, 2020 has been different.

      “The Boston Marathon was supposed to happen on the third of April this past spring,” Husak said. “That got postponed until September, but was still going to be in Boston.

      “Then that got cancelled and they went virtual.”

      Husak completed his virtual Boston Marathon journey Saturday, Sept. 12, opening his run just north of Urbana before crossing the finish line at Tucker Park in Hiawatha.

      “I wasn’t alone on my journey,” said Husak, who posted an official time of 3-hours, 23-minutes, 12-seconds.

      “Joining me were my uncles Steve and Doug Husak (bike riders), coach Nate Sanderson (bike rider), Ellsworth cross country teammate/fiend Mark Freed (bike rider), friend/go-getter Dave Boller (driver), lifelong friend Tyler Heeren (bike rider) and my mom and dad (drivers and finish line tape holders). All of them played key parts in helping me accomplish my goal. Whether they drove around the checkpoints, rode the bike or were waiting at the finish line, everyone served a purpose.”

      While Husak was excited to complete his marathon journey, there were challenges when both of the events in Boston were cancelled due to COVID.

      “The main challenge I faced was staying motivated during a time where things were so different and knowing I wouldn’t be running down Boylston Street to finish,” he said. “I still had a nagging hamstring issue from the summer of 2019, so running back-to-back days was not ideal.”

      Missing the Boston experience was big for Husak as well.

      “I have been blessed to have gone seven times, and it never gets old,” he said. “The expo is amazing. The runners and stories inspire, and the crowd is awesome every single year.”

      Husak’s journey around Linn County wasn’t quite the same, but he still had to train like he was going to Boston, and that’s where he leaned on some of his former Springville High School runners who now compete at the collegiate level.

      “As far as training goes, I took advantage of the hand I was dealt,” Husak said. “I ran with Sam Lorimer and Caleb Christiansen for my long runs on Sundays. We would run the first 3-5 miles together with them pulling me and then they would pull away. Everyone was gaining something on those runs, and I appreciated what they did for me.”

      Husak would train 1-2 other times a week just trying to hit mileage and then the occasional fast repeat day.

      “On the other days I would bike around town, which allowed me to clear my head and think about stuff to look forward to,” he said. “I was also lifting 2-3 times per week and stretching a lot more before and after. I was really starting to get back into the runner build. I took care of my meals, but had smaller portions at times along with monitoring the cheat day.”

      When Husak broke the tape and crossed the finish line in Hiawatha, he had a crowd there supporting him.

      “It was cool to see Donita Sanderson bring the girls out to see me finish the race,” Husak said. “Even though I’m getting older, it’s never too late to set goals and chase after them. That’s what I want our students and athletes at Springville to understand. Go after your dreams, put in the work, trust the process. It’ll be worth it in the end.”

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