Marquette’s Lokken on personal high at Boston Marathon until tragedy struck

MARQUETTE – At about 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Tracy Lokken of Marquette was on top of the world after finishing the Boston Marathon with his personal best time on the course.

The feeling lasted for several more hours until he got word from a friend about the explosions that happened at the finish line at 2:50 p.m.

“I turned on the television to CNN and saw there was smoke everywhere (at the race site), with ambulances and emergency crews, too,” he said.

And his anxiety worsened when he couldn’t reach his sister, Terry Markley of North Carolina, in the blast aftermath. They had met up after the race, so he felt confident she wouldn’t return to the finish line area. But he didn’t know for certain for a number of hours.

Eventually he did reach her and the personal part of his ordeal was over.

Lokken, though, did finish the 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 22 minutes and 27 seconds, good for a nearly five-minute victory in his age group, 45-49 year-old men. Runner-up was Rich Burke of New Jersey in 2:32:22.

“Not bad for a 47-year-old guy,” he said, adding that he finished fourth in the 40 years-and-over Masters division and 31st overall among all runners.

He was about 4:35 behind the winning Masters time of 2:17:52 posted by Lee Troop of Colorado and only 1:04 behind runner-up Viacheslav Shabunin of Russia. In fact, he was the only runner in the Masters top 10 who wasn’t in the 40-44 age group.

“I had been training pretty well at the YMCA in Marquette, and had done well in a couple of marathons in Florida (before the Boston event).

“I knew I was in shape. I’m still wheeling and dealing,” Lokken said.

He added he felt “really good” during the race on a day he said was “perfect” to run.

“There was a little headwind toward the end, but the sun popped out about nine miles from the finish,” Lokken said. “It was an ideal day, but it’s all overshadowed by what happened (with the explosions).”

Lokken was scheduled to return on a flight to Marquette on Tuesday afternoon.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.