Chico Runner Finishes 3rd Boston Marathon

Apr 21, 2015 2:28 PM by Alyssa Deitsch

We've been following one Chico runner's journey to the Boston Marathon since 2013. Melissa Stearns finished the race before the twin bombs went off at the finish line.

Stearns had a difficult time in the marathon in 2014, coming down with the flu the night before the big day. She went back again for the third year in a row, hoping her local coach and training team prepared her.

"It's redemption time," Stearns said after explaining her first two tough years at the Boston Marathon.

"I finished the race in 2013... I heard the bombs, I saw the smoke... I managed to find my friends," she said. "Watching the day unfold... it was just horrific."

Then bad luck for Stearns struck her after she decided to go back for the second year, wanting to give her all to the town of Boston.

"I was so ready last year," Stearns said. "Then in the middle of the night, I started vomiting. I got the stomach flu."

In keeping with the town's motto "Boston Strong" she fought through the stomach bug and finished the race, stopping at every medical tent along the way. She even stopped once to get an I-V. She finished in the last 100 of 36,000 people. But still, she finished.

Stearns attributes much of her dedication and success to her coach and training group at Fleet Feet in downtown Chico.

"We're there, we're accountable," said Stearns' coach Ramon Ferguson. "We're pushing each other to run faster, harder, and we're there to pick each other up."

Ferguson works with runners at all levels. He says if your goal is to run a marathon, you're going to have to put in time.

"26.2 [miles] isn't just going to happen in one week," Ferguson said. "We're talking six months sometimes a year."

To qualify for the Boston Marathon, Stearns had to run 26.2 miles in less than four hours for her gender and age groups. She made the cut-off time by five seconds.

Stearns acknowledges running marathons is not for everybody but admits she thinks they're "addicting."

Ferguson says he loves the social aspect most about running.

"I have so many friends from running," Stearns concedes. "You spend time with them getting to know them and that's the fun of it."

There were ten other runners from Chico at the marathon this year... Seven of them are also Fleet Feet runners.

"This race is so near and dear to my heart with everything that's happened," Stearns said before the race. "I am so proud of those medals...this is my redemption medal."

Stearns finished the 119th Boston marathon in four hours, 10 minutes, and three seconds.


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