The Berlin Marathon course is known as one of the fastest in the world, with the current world record run over its flat, runner-friendly 26.2 miles.
Jim Eder, a Doylestown resident, wanted to know what all the fuss was about, so he made the trip to Germany to compete in last Sunday’s big event.
He didn’t come away disappointed. Eder, 55, clocked a brilliant 2:53.11, placing him eighth in the 55-59 age group.
The infamous 20-mile mark of a marathon, aka, the “wall’’ didn’t slow Eder, who learned a lesson from his very first marathon when his training was not quite up to the task.
“After my experience with the wall on my first marathon, I’ve upped my weekly distance from 55 miles to 70 miles,’’ Eder explained. “At this level of training, the wall is less of a concern but I still haven’t mastered the optimal ‘negative split’ strategy where you run faster in the second half compared with the first half. Also, Berlin actually ended up being pretty warm at the end (around 70 degrees). I tried to take this into account and run conservatively. I didn’t quite run conservative enough but overall I’m still pleased.’’
Like many runners, Eder evolved into the marathon in roundabout fashion. He was a recreational runner until he decided to participate in the 2018 Bucks 5K Series.
“From there, I starting getting involved with the Doylestown running community,’’ Eder said. “Several members of the group were training for the 2018 Boston Marathon. I was in awe of the fact that so many from the group had qualified for Boston. They suggested I might do well and set me up with a training program, called “Advanced Marathoning” by Pete Pfitzinger. I was like, ‘Wow I’ve never done any marathon and I’m jumping straight to Advanced Marathoning.’+”
Well, it all worked out. Eder, a mechanical engineer, eventually qualified and ran in the Boston Marathon, as well as Chicago, where he did a personal best 2:52.
The Philadelhia native initially did his first 26.2-miler in the Lehigh Valley Marathon and, in his words, “hit the wall hard but still earned a Boston qualifier in 3:22.’’
Jim and wife Karen have three children: Veronica, Ian and Claudia. Veronica is also a runner and will be competing in the Chicago Marathon with hopes of qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trials.
A wrestler at Cardinal Dougherty High School, Jim never ran in high school or college (Drexel University) and now kind of wishes he had. Who knows how fast he would have been back then?
So why Berlin? Because he’s trying to complete all six international marathons: New York, Chicago, Boston, London, Berlin and Tokyo. So far, so good.
Berlin, he says, was a great experience.
“It was very nice to see some crowds again,’’ he said. “The race was well organized with what appeared to be good COVID protocols. All entrants were required to be either vaccinated, recovered or tested. We also had to wear masks before the start and after crossing the finish line. There were lot of bands on the streets in the various neighborhoods. Berlin is a beautiful city with both modern buildings and classic architecture.’’
As for the quest of Veronica, a Central Bucks East and Auburn University graduate, the sky’s the limit.
“I’m super proud of her,’’ Jim said. “She has an unbelievable amount of dedication and tenacity. She’s had an amazing collegiate running career, reaching the NCAA nationals in the 5K, 10K and cross countray. I look forward to see what she’s going to do as she takes on the marathon.’’
>Bucks runners shine at PDR
The return of the Philadelphia Distance Run on Sept. 19 brought excitement to the local strider community, perhaps no place more than Bucks County.
There were strong age-group performances on both the female and male side of competition.
Central Bucks East High School graduate Josh Izewski, now living in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, placed fourth overall with a time of 1:03.38. The 31-year-old finished less than a minute off the winning time and picked up $250 for his efforts.
Meanwhile, Yardley’s Lisa Kuliczkowski, 56, won the women’s 56-60 age group with a time of 1:39.6.
Back on the men’s side, Alex Carideo of Yardley placed seventh in the 21-25 bracket with a 1:12.49. In the 26-30 division, Bristol’s Cameron Erhardt placed 18th in 1:13.04. Joe Holton of Furlong placed ninth in the 36-40 group with a 1:22.23. Paul Montini of Ivyland took fourth in the 51-55 competition with a 1:27.25. In the same division, Newtown’s Paul Lancaster placed sixth in 1:29.15.
In the 56-60 group, Jim Larson of Langhorne came in ninth in 1:39.57. Bob Boland of Warrington placed third in the 61-65 bracket with a 1:34.34. Pete Carideo of Yardley came in shortly after in fifth place with a 1:40.2. Bill Schaffling of Yardley placed fifth in the 66-70 division at 1:56.53. John Mazzarini of Levittown took home second place in the 71-and-over with a 2:13.16.
In women’s competition, Quan Peng of Doylestown placed third in the 61-65 division with a 1:51.43; Karen Quinlan placed eighth in the game group with a 2:00.10. Linda Richey of Warminster placed second in the 66-70 bracket with a 2:22.50.
Congratulations to everyone on a fine performance.
5K on Market Day, 9 a.m., Newtown. Contact www.runningintheusa.com
Peace Valley Duathlon, 8:30 a.m., Chalfont. Contact www.runningintheusa.com.