Basil bound for Beantown

After crossing the finish line of the Allscripts Tobacco Road Marathon, Basil Scott had reason to celebrate.

After all, he hung tough in the final miles, rallied, and won his age group in a competitive race on March 19 in Cary, North Carolina. That in itself is reason for a big smile.

But for Scott, the real celebration came when he was given the green light to ring the bell. Not everyone, you see, gets to ring that finish line bell.

“This race makes a big deal out of qualifying for Boston,” he said. “If you qualify for Boston, they tell you to ring that bell.”

So Scott did.

The Kapaa man earned it, running the 26.2-mile marathon in 3 hours, 30 minutes and 32 seconds, good for first place in the 60-64 age group and 164th overall out of 868 finishers. He was running in second place in his age division for most of the race before taking the lead about mile 23.

“I caught this guy at the end when he was suffering,” Scott said.

But Scott was suffering, too, on a day when it was 38 degrees at the start and warmed up to all of 45. His pace was slowing, but the will to win wasn’t.

“I was hurting and legs were starting to get spastic, but I ran the last mile hard and then I sprinted in the last segment,” he said “I was happy that I could hang tough because my legs were really dead.”

It was a fine performance, one that at age 61, Scott was happy with (though he is convinced he can dip into the 3:20s). For winning his age division, he earned a copper and stainless steel mug, and some accolades at the finish when the announcer said, “There’s your 60-year-old age group winner.”

“It wasn’t a perfect race but it was darn good one,” he said. “It was a bit of a struggle, but I held together.”

Scott remains one of Kauai’s fastest runners and is considered a guru of sort on the sport. His training is meticulous and calculated. He is not the kind who leaves things to chance. He’s coached at the high school level, offers advice to many on Kauai, and knows what it takes to train and race well. He can chat with specifics and know-how about the effects of oxygen debt, wind resistance and the incline of hills. He’s been injured and bounced back. At local races, it’s pretty much guaranteed he’ll win his age group, and be among the top overall finishers. He’ll often be surrounded by others seeking his wisdom.

For his latest marathon in North Carolina, where twin brother Robert lives (also an outstanding runner), he ran 40 to 50 miles a week, mixed in long runs of 20-plus miles and speedwork and recovery days. He’s careful about his diet, which is how he keeps a trim 150 pounds on his 5-11 frame. You can often find him running around the 3.25-mile road that loops the Kauai Marriott Resort property in Lihue, though he’s not wild about stopping to chat once he’s off and running. If you can keep up, you can talk story.

Next up for Scott on Kauai will likely be the Haena to Hanalei 8-miler in early June, then the Kauai Half Marathon in September.

Farther down the road, his sights are on the Boston Marathon in April. It’s the holy grail for runners, and Scott has never run it. He vows to be there.

“I’m going to go,” he said.

Because it’s so competitive to get into the field for Boston, how much you beat your qualifying time is critical. His goal at the Tobacco Road Marathon was to qualify for Boston. The time he had to beat was 3:55, so he crushed it by nearly 25 minutes and received an early qualifier special T-shirt. His performance put him in another elite group that’s allowed to submit their race application earlier than most.

Now, his focus will be on Beantown and its famous Heartbreak Hill and passing Wellesley College and its traditional “Scream Tunnel” of female students.

Running Boston, Scott said, has long been on his bucket list. He qualified before but an injury kept him from the starting line.

Not this time, he says. He figures he’s got a few fast marathons left in his legs. Come April 2018, he’ll be ready for the Boston Marathon, the granddaddy of this revered distance. And yes, that sub-3:30 is within sight.

“I’ll do everything to make sure I’m there,” he said.

And when he says everything, he means it.

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