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Monday, Sep. 1, 2014

Bertrand woman's dream comes true in marathon

Thursday, April 21, 2005

(Photo)
Crystal Morrow of Bertrand displays the medal she received after completing the Boston Marathon.
SIKESTON -- Running in the Boston Marathon has been a dream for Crystal Morrow over the past 11 years, and on Monday her dream came true.

"There were many times I thought I wasn't going to finish," said Morrow of Bertrand. "I had pinched a nerve after the 10th mile. But when I saw the finish line, I just kicked in and forgot about the pain."

Morrow crossed the finish line of the world's oldest annual marathon and completed the 26.2 mile journey with a time of 5 hours, 39 minutes.

"I was a little disappointed in my time," Morrow admitted. "Even though I told myself I wasn't going to compete -- but complete it -- I wanted to do a little bit better to show what I could do."

The distance Morrow ran is comparable to that of running from Sikeston to Cape Girardeau, she said.

When Morrow arrived Monday morning at the start of the race in Hopkinton, Mass., the temperature was 52 degrees. By the time she'd finished, it was unbearably hot at 73 degrees, she recalled.

"It's a mind game," Morrow said about running in a marathon. "You have to talk yourself into it and each mile you take one step at a time and I spent a lot of time speaking to God."

And nothing could beat the crowd cheering the runners on, Morrow said. "The first five miles, I spent my time slapping the hands of children ages 2 and up," Morrow said. "Sen. John Kerry was there, and he was cheering his daughter on."

There was never a spot that didn't have crowd support either, Morrow noted.

"One time, around mile 11, there was a guy dressed up as Elvis and singing. So I just started dancing and it just uplifts you," Morrow said.

And at mile 12, students at Wesley College were doing cheers for the runners and could be heard from a mile away, Morrow said.

In February at Austin, Texas, Morrow qualified for the Boston Marathon with a time of 3:40:24 -- she needed to do it in four hours flat.

"I told myself I'm just going to enjoy it and that's what I did," Morrow said.

Before the marathon, based on her qualifying time, officials estimated Morrow would finish at 13,278. Her final place was 17,313.

"To me, it was an honor to be there. There's less than 1 percent of the people in the nation who ever get to go," Morrow said.

About 20,450 runners competed and about 600 did not get to finish, mostly due to dehydration. Morrow said she did hydrate the majority of the stops; however, she didn't at three stops.

"When you run that amount of distance, sweat turns into salt and you have salt all over body. That happened to me. I probably didn't have as much Gatorade as I needed," Morrow said.

Morrow said she's just grateful she wasn't hospitalized, and is appreciative of her family and friends for all of their support.

To train for a marathon, Morrow starts about three months prior to and gets up every morning at 4:30 to run, she said.

"I've run on snow, ice, and rain and every weather condition imaginable," Morrow said.

After Monday's accomplishment, it's hard to believe Morrow didn't even begin running races and marathons until she was 34 and prior to that she had never run, she said.

"My sister lives in Florida, and she knew I was having a down time in my life because my father passed away and she entered me in a race -- and told me after the fact," Morrow recalled.

Soon Morrow began racing all over -- in one-mile to 26-mile races -- and the rest is history.

"It's a sense of accomplishment and realizing I've done something so many haven't accomplish yet it was a privilege to me, and I relish the glory of being there," Morrow said.

As a counselor at Lee Hunter Elementary in Sikeston, Morrow said she's making sure she practices what she preaches -- setting goals and obtaining them.

"It took me 14 marathons to get this," Morrow said. "It's about never giving up on your goals and never giving up on your dreams because something can always come true."