Matt Johnson is the band director at James Hart School in Homewood, but he’s also an avid runner who got his chance to run the 2022 Boston Marathon April 18.
‘It’s definitely a lifetime achievement and accomplishment. I’ve been trying to get in it for years, so it was fun to finally get in it this year,” he said.
Johnson ran track and cross country in high school in Champaign, Illinois. He’s been running ever since and is a member of the Elmhurst Running Club. The Boston Marathon was his 11th marathon since 2015. His time was 3:04:56 on the 26.2-mile course – a great time but not his best time for a marathon.
To run Boston, runners meet or exceed a qualifying time. Johnson tried several times to get in. He missed one qualifier by 8 seconds. He had a qualifying time in December 2019 to get him into the 2020 race, but it was canceled due to the pandemic. He ran a race in October 2021 with a time that was 4 seconds under the qualifying time. That allowed him to register for Boston’s 2022 race.
“There’s nothing like it. Some of the things there were exciting about it is it’s the most spectated race in the world. There were so many fans everywhere,” he said. “You run through several small towns before you finally get to Boston and their downtown areas have a party and they’re cheering you on.
“It’s a really great festive celebration. Everybody’s nice and supportive,” he said. “It’s just a really great positive atmosphere. You run that final stretch in downtown Boston with lots of people on either side and you’re among the skyscrapers and all those famous Boston spots.”
Will he do it again? “I don’t know if I’ll do it again or not, but it was a really fun experience,” he added.