The Edmond Sun

Local News

April 19, 2014

Arcadia man, 80, prepares for 111th marathon

Résumé includes marathons on 7 continents

EDMOND — A year ago, Arcadia resident Tom Briggs was well into the Boston Marathon course when he heard runners nearby talking about an incident up ahead.

At 2:49 p.m. April 15, 2013, two bombs exploded 550 feet apart on Boston Street near the finish line. Smoke clouds rose into the air as runners and spectators scattered. First responders converged on the scene.

“I heard about a terrorist attack near the finish line,” Briggs said. “So when I got to mile 22 it didn’t surprise me when I saw the National Guard blocking the road. And that was that. The course was closed.”

Briggs and the rest of the country soon learned the bombs killed three and injured, according to some reports, more than 250 people.

Thursday morning, after a run — he normally runs five days a week — Briggs was sitting at his dining room table, talking about his more than impressive running résumé. When he was in his 40s, he took up running to prepare for a trip to the rugged Sierra Nevada mountain range. In 1985, he ran his initial marathon in Lincoln, Neb.  

“My first aim at Lincoln was to finish,” Briggs said. “My next aim was to finish in respectable time. And my ultimate aim was to qualify for Boston. And I made all three.”

But there’s much more to the story. Briggs said he has run in 110 marathons. His running résumé includes a streak of 25 straight Boston Marathon appearances. And he has run a marathon on all seven continents.

Monday morning, the 80-year-old will be running with an estimated 36,000 others in the 118th Boston Marathon, which generates an estimated $142 million for the Boston-area economy. On Tuesday, a tribute honored those affected by the bombing.

When asked if he’s feeling anxious about the potential for another terrorist attack, Briggs said he’s focused on running.

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