Inside Sports for Wednesday — April 19, 2006

He may be two days removed from his “amazing” experience at the 110th Boston Marathon, but Kalaheo’s Eric Wortman is still feeling the rewards of a once in a lifetime chance.

“It went great. It was an amazing race. Basically, there were people cheering and yelling the entire race, just about a three hour deafening roar. As I was running and having my inner dialogue, I realized all these people never stop screaming, as they hand you food, water, or popsicles. They must scream for hours,” Wortman said in a phone interview from Logan International Airport in Boston.

Wortman was Kaua’i’s lone entrant at the one of the world’s oldest marathons.

To get there, he attained a qualifying time in last year’s Honolulu Marathon (3:09) and although he wasn’t a top finisher in Boston, he still received high praises from college students.

“There were college girls who held up signs that said, ‘kiss me, kiss me,’ so I stopped and kissed them,” Wortman said.

Along the way, he was surprised to see friends from his high school days, who were very helpful.

“At the beginning of the race at the runner’s village, I met some people from my high school. They gave me lots of pointers about the race. At mile 16, they warned me to relax instead of going for it and I did, which turned out be a good thing for me,” Wortman said.

The 45-year-old has competed in a few marathons, but his first experience might’ve catapulted him to Boston.

“I ran the Los Angeles Marathon, which was my first one and I went untrained. By mile 20, I was walking the rest of the way. I felt really bad because old ladies were passing me up. I thought to myself, ‘I’ll never let this happen again,” Wortman said.

With the Red Sox playing an early game, the city was out in full force to watch the different spectacles around town, especially its crown jewel, the Boston Marathon.

“I went to an Irish Pub after the race and they saw me limping and they bought me drinks. I always looked at it as I didn’t think I could do it and when I qualified I thought, ‘I better do it, I might not never get this chance again,” Wortman said.

But he’s not heading home just yet. Wortman flew to Scotland yesterday from Boston to plant his father-in-law’s (David McDonald) ashes around the Old Course at St. Andrews, a place where David McDonald requested to place his remnants before his death in 2000.

“We played golf together all the time. I’m going to lay a kukui nut lei near the ashes and I might have to grab some sand from a bunker at the course to take home with me,” Wortman said.

His first Boston Marathon experience might take awhile to get off of his mind.

“It was a great experience. There are so many positive feelings and energy amongst the crowd and the runners. It was a great uplifting experience and I’m so glad I came,” Wortman said.

Wortman, who proudly wore a Honolulu Marathon cap during the race, finished up with a time of 3:11, but might’ve tallied a higher time if he paid attention to his own watch.

“After I finished, I was so exhausted that I forgot to stop my watch, so I really didn’t know my time,” Wortman said.

“At the finish line, they gave you a medallion, food, water, Gatorade, and a wheel chair if you needed one,” he continued.

Next year will be the 111th installment of the Boston Marathon and Wortman, who’s a doctor by trade, should be around if his health allows him, to make another run in the storied event.

“I’m excited to come back next year. Well, hey, I qualified,” Wortman said.


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