Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/993657

Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 30, 2014

Washington’s Harkema finishes third at Marion marathon

By Travis J. Brown, Journal Sports Editor | Apr 25, 2013
Becky Harkema

MARION — Becky Harkema of Washington took third place out of 66 women at the Marion Rotary Marathon For Shoes on Sunday.

Harkema, 47, negotiated a tough course on a windy day in 3 hours, 34 minutes and 30 seconds.

“It was really windy,” Harkema said. “It would about knock you over. The course was pretty challenging, too, I thought.”

Harkema, the CEO at the Washington Community Y, was running in the 11th marathon of her career, but the first in about a year.

“My last marathon was Boston last year, so I didn’t know how I would do,” she said. “I was just happy to feel good along the way. I’m still vertical.”

Having run the Boston Marathon last year, Harkema said she was shaken a bit by the bombing at this year’s event.

“When you’re a runner and that stuff happens, it hits pretty close to home,” she said. “I had friends who were out there running in the Boston Marathon.”

Harkema was one of four local runners to compete in the marathon in Marion. Chris Swart of Kalona finished 38th out of 136 men, crossing the finish line in 3 hours, 46 minutes and 12 seconds, and Matt Bryant of Washington was 78th in 4 hours, 12 minutes and 6 seconds. Katie Kauffman of Wayland finished 57th out of 66 women with a time of 5 hours, 21 minutes and 6 seconds.

Harkema said she trained for Sunday’s marathon with Bryant, Shawn Loy, Dave Mitchell and Kirsten Peck.

“I’d like to get to where we have a little running group out of the YMCA so that we have more people running with us on a regular basis,” Harkema said.

Harkema, Loy, Mitchell and Bryant are planning to run the Chicago Marathon in October. Harkema and six other local women are planning to run a 75-mile relay race near Des Moines on May 11.

“It’s a sport where you can stay healthy,” Harkema said of running. “People are passionate about it and make it a part of their lifestyle.”

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