By Molly Atchison | Print Managing Editor
On Monday, Ridley Holmes crossed a new threshold in his running career by qualifying for and competing in the Boston Marathon.
Holmes is a junior Baylor Business Fellows major and a Waco native. During his time at Live Oak High School in downtown Waco, Holmes was involved in several athletic teams, including cross country and football. Only once he came to Baylor did he find his passion: running.
The Boston Marathon is one of the most historic running competitions in the United States, beginning on April 17, 1897. 2018 marks the 122nd year the race has taken place, and Holmes represented Baylor as he took to the streets of Boston to participate. In order to compete in the event, runners must meet a qualifying time of three hours and five minutes. Holmes came in just under this mark last year at the BMW Dallas Marathon, where he completed the race in just two hours and fifty-six minutes. In order to train for each event, Holmes said he runs an average of 45 miles a week, if he’s in good health.
This weekend, Holmes and his mother flew to Boston to register and attend the pre-race expo. “It’s crazy, there were people everywhere warming up and everything, it’s cool to see how much other people care about running,” Holmes said.
Although the race is competitive, Holmes said he was appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of the experience. “It’s a beautiful race, it’s a fun race, it’s a lot of history. I’m just excited to be a part of it,” Holmes said. He also found out several days before the marathon that he has qualified for the 2019 Boston Marathon as well, which Holmes said is another huge accomplishment.
Qualifying for and completing a marathon of this caliber is no small feat, and it took many of Holmes’ family and friends by surprise, but he said the support has been overwhelming.
“I’ve never been a long distance runner, so I’m always amazed he is able to run as long and as fast as he does,” Holmes’ girlfriend, Pagosa Springs, Colo., sophomore Kimberly Dawson said. “He lights up whenever he starts talking about running and I don’t even want to know how many hours he’s spent reading about different races and professionals. He’s so dedicated and it’s really cool getting to see all of his hard work pay off during races. The conditions were terrible on Monday, but he soaked up every minute of it and had a blast.”
Boston’s weather on Monday was windy and cold, but that didn’t stop the runners as the 2018 Boston Marathon began. Holmes completed the race in three hours and six minutes. “It was about 38 degrees, raining constantly and we had a 20 mph headwind the whole race,” Holmes said. “All things considered, I ran OK, [I’m] happy to have been able to experience it and [I’m] excited for another crack at it next year.”
Despite the weather, Holmes’s mother, Dawn, was present for the race and said she appreciated the mentality surrounding the event.
“I really enjoyed the whole Boston Marathon experience,” Dawn Holmes said. “The city does an amazing job of supporting the runners and the atmosphere is truly unique. I’m so proud of Ridley for finishing strong and maintaining joy, despite such awful weather conditions. His passion for running and his dedication is such an inspiration.”
Holmes said he hopes to return to campus with enough time to enjoy some of the Diadeloso festivities, and will continue to train for the 2019 Boston Marathon throughout the year. “It seems like the type of thing where once you start doing it, you’ll do it forever,” Holmes said.