COLUMBIA — A marathon — 1,660,032 inches. Or 138,336 feet. Or 46,112 yards. Or 26.2 miles.
Becky Bond, 47, has run every bit of that. Twenty times.
The mother of two and teacher at Cedar Ridge Elementary School has been running marathons for 17 years. She ran her 20th — the Rock 'n' Roll St. Louis Marathon — in October. It's all preparation for the most prestigious marathon in the country — the Boston Marathon, which Bond called the "grand-daddy of them all."
Bond will be in the pack of runners when the 116th running of the race takes place April 16.
"Everyone knows about it," said Bond, a first-time runner at Boston. "When you say marathon, they'll say, 'Have you done Boston?'"
When she qualified in September with a time under four hours, she couldn't believe it.
"I was pretty excited," she said. "I was excited because once I kind of got my mind wrapped around it, I thought, you know it's kind of one of those bucket-list things."
The Boston Marathon is different than other races because runners have to qualify, Bond said. They can't just sign up, pay an entry fee and run.
Bond said her training routine isn't typical of all runners. It might be surprising to hear that the full-time teacher has the time to run between 50 and 60 miles a week.
"I just run a lot, I guess would be my training schedule," said Bond, who gets up at 4:30 every morning. "Mine that works for me is just high mileage."
Training for a marathon is hard, Bond said without hesitation, adding that she has a dedicated group of friends who run with her and keep her motivated.
Haley Schwarz has been running and training with Bond since 2009.
"She is proof that you can work hard, train hard and meet your goals, whether in your 20s, 30s or 40s," Schwarz said.
Schwarz will help Bond train and prepare for the Boston Marathon in the coming months. They are more than just training partners.
"Running with Becky and my running friends fulfills time to socialize, train and support each other," Schwarz stressed. "We are so lucky to have women who we can depend on and have so many subjects in common."
Bond describes herself as a social runner because she enjoys talking with people as she runs. It helps take her mind off things and relax.
"It's something that only I can do for myself," Bond said. "No one can really help me do it. It's my way of hitting the road and forgetting about everything else."
The winter cold will not interrupt training for the biggest marathon of her life, Bond said. When it's more than 10 degrees outside, she said she's bundled up and out there running. Otherwise, she hits the treadmill.
The Boston Marathon follows a mostly downhill course through the heart of the city, passing such landmarks as Framingham Train Depot, Boston College and Woodland Golf Club. It will be Bond's first trip to Boston. She said she is eager to see the area.