MINNEAPOLIS - It is estimated that 19,000 runners will begin the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon Sunday morning. It will be the 30th annual running of the 26.2 mile event.
Among the sneaker-ed multitude will be a Minneapolis man who thought he might never try his dream race because of illness. Kyle Neary, 25, had been a competitive runner in high school in his native Green Bay, Wisconsin.
"Came down with Crohn's disease and that sort of took me out of it for a little while," said Neary. "I have been a casual runner ever since. I have never really taken the time to commit myself to anything."
The bowel disorder caused Kyle to drop to just 104 pounds in his senior year in high school and sapped his energy. By his own admission, he could not commit to running.
The one commitment Kyle did make was to Jessica. He married the Florida native after they met in college at the University of Notre Dame. On their first wedding anniversary this May, Jessica surprised Kyle with a chance at fulfilling his old dream. She signed him up for the Twin Cities marathon.
"I think this is a great time for Kyle to run, at 25," said Jessica. "His father ran the Twin Cities Marathon back in the 1980's."
"It is something I have always wanted to do and she knows that," agreed Kyle. "She gave me that nice impetus and signed me up and gave me the push that I needed to get going."
Then, Jessica had another surprise for her husband. "Around June, July, we found out that I was pregnant. I am pregnant, due March 15th," said Jessica. "Kyle's running got a little bit shaky there, but he has picked it back up and we are excited about the weekend."
"Training has been tough," admitted Kyle. "I have had the usual aches and pains and such. I'm sort of at the point where I think crossing the finish line is going to be good enough for now. I am still in the back of my mind shooting for that four hour mark. I think if I have a good day, I can get there, but I am going to be pretty happy as long as I get across the line."
Kyle Neary is a graduate student in Astronomy and Astro-physics at the University of Minnesota. He is studying "galaxy formation and evolution." Sunday will be his first marathon.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)