Seth Hasty used to dread running a mile as a 245-pound offensive tackle for the Gardiner Area High School football team.
“I was real slow,” he said. “I was a big, chunky dude on the line and I feared having to run a mile.”
On Monday, the 33-year-old Hasty will embrace the challenge of running the 117th Boston Marathon, the oldest 26.2-mile race in the world.
Hasty will be among more than 27,000 runners who will take on the prestigious race. The Boston Marathon course takes runners through eight Massachusetts cities or towns and is considered one of the toughest of its kind.
From Heartbreak Hill to the arduous climb by the famed Charles River, the race presents a unique set of challenges to even the most robust runners.
And Hasty is ready to roll.
“I’ve trained my (butt) off,” he said. “The last Boston I ran was in 2011 and I wasn’t in the best shape. Our son (Abe) was just born and I was training with no sleep. It caught up to me in the race. This time around, it’s different. I’ve gone 95 miles and up each week during my peak weeks. I think I’m ready.”
Hasty, 33, of Randolph, takes a personal-best marathon time of 2:54 to Boston. The 1998 Gardiner football captain wants to finish under 2:45.
“Yeah, I’ll put it out there,” said Hasty, who works at the Maine Running Company in Brunswick. “I qualified two falls ago but then was able to move up in the corral when I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. last year.”
Hasty thought he was going to be a football player, but plans changed when he graduated from Gardiner in 1998 and enrolled at Springfield College in Springfield, Mass.
He was recruited to play football for the Falcons, but said he quickly realized “college football was just not for me.”
“I needed to do something else,” Hasty said. “There were a bunch of cross country kids in my dorm and I thought, ‘one day I can be a runner.’ I’m a much better runner than I am a football player. It worked out.”
Hasty added he is especially looking forward to seeing his son at the finish line.
“It will be very emotional for me,” he said. “I’ve had so much support from him and my wife (Brianne). Just thinking of seeing him at the finish line, it’s emotional.”
Joe Viselli, 35, of Richmond, will run his first Boston Marathon. He qualified for the race when he finished the Sugarloaf Marathon last May in 3 hours, 2 seconds.
It will be his fifth marathon overall.
“This is kind of the bucket-list for runners,” Viselli said. “You have to qualify for it so that adds to the prestige. Once you do a marathon you start thinking if you are good enough to get into Boston. It gives you that added challenge. I’m really anxious to do it.”
Viselli trained with Ward Boudreau, 37, of Gardiner for the race. The two tried a different approach for this marathon.
“The longest run capped out at 16 miles,” Viselli said. “We ran more miles in the week so the 16 on the weekend was to try and simulate your last 16 miles of the race. It actually speeds you up and doesn’t leave you beaten up.”
Everyone has different reasons for running a marathon.
Joseph Bertolaccini knows the end may be near. He can feel it in his legs and he can feel it in his heart.
“Hey, I’m getting up there,” said Bertolaccini, 46, a Winslow resident. “I’m pushing 47. You never know when your running career can get cut short. So I figured, ‘Let’s do this one more time.’ “
Bertolaccini wants to experience the race one last time.
“This may be the last one,” he said. “There’s nothing like being on a two-lane road with 20,000 others. You hope you don’t fall and get trampled. I can’t wait to do it again. I’m looking forward to being there.”
This will be the sixth Boston Marathon — but first since 2002 — and 12th overall marathon for Bertolaccini. He qualified for the race when he ran the Maine Marathon in 3:07 in 2011.
Bertolaccini, who ran his first Boston Marathon in 1996, spent the last year training for his return to Boston.
“The training did start to get difficult,” he acknowledged. “This is also the first time I did a lot of cross training for the marathon and not as much running. I did more cross country skiing, more work on the elliptical trainer, stationary bike and treadmill. I came up with the program on my own. I’ve been running for the last 20 years so I knew what I needed to do.”
Bill Stewart — 621-5640