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Faces of Boston: Mark Herzog

Mark Herzog talks about what Boston Strong means to him and his goals for this year's race.

Mark Herzog, 34

Marketing Researcher / Consumer Insights
Chanhassen, Minn.

I got into this year’s Boston Marathon after qualifying at the 2013 Grandma’s Marathon. My qualifying time was 2:59:52, which is also my current PR. My brother’s PR was set at the same race, 3:02:04.

I started running on the track team in eighth grade, running the 800m and 1-mile in my basketball high tops. I won most of the races I ran, so that felt good and I kept with it. My twin brother and I then ran Grandma’s Marathon the summer after graduating from undergrad. We both finished around 4:30 and swore off marathons that afternoon, but the next day we both said we know we could do better and started making plans for future marathons. Obviously we’ve both come a long way since that first one!

Why are you running the 2014 Boston Marathon?

Early in 2013 I made it a goal to run the 2014 Boston Marathon simply because it was Boston. On April 15, 2013, I remember “watching” the race from my computer, looking for updates from friends who were running.  Then after the bombs, I was glued to social media and the news—after about two hours I decided it was just time to go for a run.  I hopped on a treadmill at the company gym and burned through 10 miles while watching the news. Many friends came up to me and said they were thankful that I wasn’t running [Boston], but to each person who said that, I remember saying that I’d definitely be there in 2014.

What part of the course/event are you most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to many parts of the course—most notably the finish. I can’t imagine how loud the last mile will be, specifically the last quarter mile. But I will say that just crossing the starting line will be special, and I also have to say that I’m looking forward to running by Wellesley College.

RELATED: Meet Competitor’s Faces Of Boston

What does “Boston Strong” mean to you?

Boston Strong means a community’s perseverance in rising above the events that happened last Patriot’s Day. The running community and the city of Boston have all come together over the past year to support the victims of the bombings, and the 2014 Boston Marathon will be the accumulation of many emotions between those two very strong communities.

Who is coming out to support you this year?

My wife and I are leaving our two kids at home with Grandma and Grandpa, so she will be the only family member coming. We have a five-year-old and a two-and-a-half-year-old, and keeping them entertained and busy during a marathon, especially the size of Boston, would be challenging. My wife will be 32 weeks pregnant during Boston too! (On a sidenote, we completely planned our third around the Boston Marathon. I’m still trying to find a Boston-related name to use when he or she is born — and we are open to suggestions.)

What is your race-day goal?

My current race-day goal is to take it all in. My brother and I have committed to running together and have trained very similarly. Our time goal is around 3:15, and we want to finish together. We’ll see how the day goes — given that Minnesota has had a harsh winter, training hasn’t been ideal.

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