On the run: O’Connor completes back-toback marathons in Chicago, Boston – Chesterton Tribune

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Porter resident Nathan O’Connor, 20, is all smiles following his completion of the Chicago and Boston Marathons on Oct 10 and 11. “It was definitely a unique experience,” said O’Connor. “If the opportunity ever did arise again, I’d get after it!” ABIGAIL PARKERSON/photo

Porter resident Nathan O’Connor, 20, is all smiles following his completion of the Chicago and Boston Marathons on Oct 10 and 11. “It was definitely a unique experience,” said O’Connor. “If the opportunity ever did arise again, I’d get after it!” ABIGAIL PARKERSON/photo

“A little sore but doing good.” That’s how Nathan O’Connor, 20, of Porter summed up how he was feeling three days after finishing back-to-back World Marathon Majors. On Sunday, Oct. 10, O’Connor completed the Chicago Marathon and then headed straight to Midway International Airport to catch a flight to Boston.

O’Connor was no stranger to the trip. He had just been in Boston two days prior to pick up his race packet for the marathon there on Oct. 11. “I went to Boston early Friday morning and spent about six hours there,” recounted O’Connor. “I picked up my bib, got in a run, ate lunch, and then went right back on the plane.”

O’Connor went on to repeat the same sequence of events on Saturday in Chicago as he had in Boston. Despite the extra miles added onto his weekend in the air, O’Connor wasn’t concerned about the pre-race travel. “I was able to relax for about a day in between Boston and running Chicago,” said O’Connor. “I was shooting for a fast time in Chicago because it’s a flat course and I thought I could get a good PR there, and then I could just go and enjoy Boston.”

Noting that Chicago was a challenging race given the unseasonably warm temperature and wind speeds, O’Connor didn’t run the race he wanted. “I think I got excited with some of the elite guys being close to me at the start,” confessed O’Connor. “I went out a little faster than I wanted to and it came back to haunt me in the end. It went okay, two hours and thirty-eight minutes and thirty-six seconds, but not what I wanted.”

There wasn’t time to dwell on marathon one, however, because after O’Connor finished in Chicago he headed straight to the airport with his mother and girlfriend, who both also ran that day, in an effort to make it to Boston on time. Unfortunately, the tired and sore marathoners faced a two-hour delay. “We were supposed to leave around 7 p.m. but didn’t actually fly out until 9 or 9:30 p.m., and got into Boston around midnight,” said O’Connor. “So I only got about four or five hours of sleep before the marathon the next day.”

Although O’Connor himself reported being somewhat nervous as he flew out of Chicago for the second time in two days, those who were there with him in Boston never doubted him. “I knew he could do it,” said his mother, Gwen O’Connor. “I was very overcome with emotions. Just so proud and happy that he was doing Boston and that I could be there to see it, but I did worry about whether he ate enough or had enough sleep beforehand. He was prepared though and I knew he could handle whatever came his way.”

As fate would have it, a familiar face came O’Connor’s way at the start line Monday morning in Boston. As the gun was going off, he came upon fellow Duneland resident and training partner Michael Loewe, and they took the first ten miles or so of the race in stride together. “We took it like we would any other training run together. We kept it relaxed and conversational as long as we could,” recalled Loewe. “I told him if we get separated you just run hard. Don’t stop. Let the crowd of Boston carry you in. There was no doubt in my mind that he was going to get it done.”

While Loewe may have had no doubt, O’Connor attributed their chance meeting to his success in Boston. He finished roughly forty seconds faster there than he did in Chicago. “He helped me more than I helped him,” said O’Connor. “I could barely get off the bus for the start in Boston. I was so sore. I think running together took my mind off the pain and I loosened up. I didn’t have a game plan for Boston. I just wanted to finish it, enjoy it, but my competitive side kicked in as it always does.”

It’s unusual for marathoners to run back-to-back races, but O’Connor said given the opportunity he would definitely do it again. “The main reason I set out to do this is because these two races have never been one after the other, it will probably be the only time in history that they are,” said O’Connor. “I compared some times in the faster groups afterwards and it looks like I came in second overall in terms of who ran both. The guy who beat me set a world record in the process; fastest three marathons in three days. He ran Baltimore on Saturday.”

Although O’Connor won’t have the opportunity to attack the Chicago/Boston combo again next fall, he is looking forward to working towards redemption in Boston next spring. Both O’Connor and Loewe are looking to return for what O’Connor called the Holy Grail of races. “The pressure is off, at least for now,” joked O’Connor. “I have two half marathons over the next six weeks. Then in the spring I’ll do Boston, and only Boston.”