Faces Of Boston: Michael Wardian
Professional runner Michael Wardian is aiming for a Boston PR this year as he remembers the tragedy that unfolded in 2013.
Michael Wardian, 40
International ship broker and professional endurance athlete
(Boston will be his first marathon as a master’s athlete)
I normally run in the 2:20s for the marathon distance, so I have a few BQ qualifiers. However, I suffered some substantial injuries in 2012 (five hernias and five stress fractures of my pelvis) so have been coming back and used my 2013 Marine Corps Marathon time of 2:27:05 as my BQ qualifier. I am very fortunate to be one of the BAA Elites for the event and so excited to race the 2014 Boston Marathon.
I got into running to stay fit after playing Division I lacrosse at Michigan State University in 1995. I figured I would just run the Boston Marathon once and that would be it; I would do other things and lead a normal life. However, after qualifying to run Boston at the Marine Corps Marathon in 1996, I ran the Boston Marathon in 1997 and got hooked by the city, the race, the course, and the people. Ever since that day, I knew I would be a runner and that I would run Boston as many times as I could. My marathon PR was set in 2011 at the Grandma’s Marathon in 2:17:49.
Why are you running the 2014 Boston Marathon?
I am running the 2014 Boston Marathon to support Boston, the people of Boston, the BAA, and the Boston Marathon. What happened in 2013 was unbelievably terrible, and I want to show the world that no despicable act can dampen the spirit of the BAA Boston Marathon and that runners are resilient, motivated and passionate. Nothing can stop our will to explore what is possible.
What part of the course/event are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to every part of the course — it is so iconic, and there are so many amazing parts. I can’t wait to see the people in Hopkinton at the start, the pandemonium that is Wellesley, the hills of Newtown, Heartbreak Hill… I have been working on lots of climbing, and Heartbreak always kicks my butt. This year I want to kick back. Passing by Boston University, running down the streets of Brookline, hitting Commonwealth Avenue, and turning on to Boylston Street — there might not be a better finish line in the world. Nothing is as beautiful and exciting as fans lining Boylston Street. I love it all.
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What does “Boston Strong” mean to you?
I am not from Boston, so the meaning of Boston Strong may be different to me than to someone that grew up in and around Boston. Boston Strong is that visceral will to fight and persevere no matter what. I think Boston Strong means you may knock me down, but I will get back up, and I will continue to keep getting back up as long as I live. No single thing will ever be able to stop me from achieving my goals and dreams.
Who is coming out to support you this year?
My wife, Jennifer, and our boys — 7-year-old Pierce and 5-year-old Grant — are all coming this year to support me and the BAA Boston Marathon. We as family love Boston and the [marathon] weekend — it is something we look forward to each and every year. They did not go last year, as I ran last minute and my wife has a girls’ weekend (which was an anomaly), but after what happened I was glad they didn’t come; they normally stand right by Marathon Sports on Boylston Street.
What is your race-day goal?
My race-day goal is to run a Boston personal best time, aiming for low and/or sub 2:20, be one of the top U.S. athletes and win the Master’s category. I think if I am able to keep healthy and train like I want, all those should be very possible.
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