Ryan Doss (MSE ME ’09, BSE ME ‘08) ran this year’s Boston Marathon, the oldest annual marathon in the world, in a time of 3:02:45 and at an average of 6:59 per mile.
The marathon, held each year on Patriot’s Day, the third Monday in April, is one of the most prestigious international road races. The 26-mile, 385-yard course is well-known both for its persistent hills and its historical route. The Boston Marathon requires a qualifying time of 3 hours 10 minutes or less on a marathon course for men in Doss’s 18-34 year age group.
Doss has been running since high school, and ran his first marathon as a freshman in college at UM, after only one month of training. Though running the race after such a circumscribed training period was, in Doss’s words, “a horrible idea,” it sparked an interest in distance races. He participated in other road races throughout college, and in while completing his Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering this past year, ran his second and third marathons.
Doss’s second marathon, the Grand Rapids Marathon in October 2008 provided him with a qualifying time of 2:59:36 for Boston. He began training for Boston in January 2009 but a severe case of Achilles tendonitis forced him to stop shortly thereafter. For seven weeks he didn’t run at all, going to physical therapy sessions at UHS and hoping to recover in time for the April race. He began training again only eight weeks before the race, working gradually up to a regime of about 50-65 miles per week, spread in varying increments over 6 days. The lead-up to the race was by no means ideal: “I ran each day having no idea if I was going to get injured again, let alone if I was going to make it all the way to the race uninjured and in good enough shape to finish.”
In spite of these setbacks and the more challenging windy and hilly Boston course, Doss finished the race only a few minutes behind his injury-free Grand Rapids time. The high-profile nature of the race made for what Doss says was “far and away the best race experience I had ever had- tons of people lining the course, lots of general excitement because of the high profile race, and plenty of American history and race tradition along the course.”
Doss, who was at UM for five years completing his BSE and MSE degrees, now lives in Orange County and works for a small start-up company developing advanced tilt-rotor aircrafts. He’s beginning to run again to “take advantage of southern California weather” and is “definitely looking forward to running more than 3 months at a time for the first time without busy semesters, bad weather, and hopefully injuries to get in the way.” He expects to begin participating in races again soon and has tentatively set 2 hours 49 minutes as the goal for his next marathon.