Flint's Garcia highlights East Texans in Boston Marathon

Published on Monday, 17 April 2017 21:47 - Written by PHIL HICKS phicks@tylerpaper.com

The temperatures in the Boston area hovered around the 70-degree mark on Monday. That may have been perfect for spectators, but not runners.

Still, some 30,000 athletes including several from East Texas completed the 121st Boston Marathon.

Top of the list from the Piney Woods was 38-year-old German Garcia, of Flint. He had a time of 2 hours, 55 minutes and 14 seconds, finishing 927th overall and 876th among men.

That’s quite an achievement for someone who just began running two years ago and was competing in his first Boston Marathon.

“What an experience,” Garcia told the Tyler Morning Telegraph. “It was a difficult course with the hills, but the crowd is so encouraging. When you hit ‘Heartbreak Hill’ about the 21-mile mark, it’s downhill from there. The crowd is chanting for you, but it is that way the whole way - from the start there are thousands of people, shoulder-to-shoulder the entire route.

“Once you get on Boylston Street, you can see the finish line. The crowd encourages and it is just mental from there, just to finish.”

The 26.2-mile race starts in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, west of Boston, and concludes in downtown Boston.

“Immediately after the race, I walked a bit because I don’t like to sit down after running,” Garcia said. “I turned to my wife (Lillian) and said ‘I don’t think I want to do this again.’ She said, ‘Wait a day or two and I bet you change your mind.’ I didn’t have to wait that long, I’m coming back. I’ve already decided.”

The top female finisher from East Texas was 25-year-old Taylor Slack of Lindale, who turned in a time of 3:10:51 for a 282nd finish among women. Nacogdoches’ Amy Ashley, 39, came in at 3:31:19.

Other male finishes from the area include: Armando Bocanegra, 50, Lufkin, 3:18:53; Wallace Flasowki IV, 46, Nacogdoches, 3:19:59; Willie James Jr., 58, Nacogdoches, 3:30:25; Dr. John Camp, 55, Tyler, 3:32:52; Gary Cassity, 48, Kilgore, 3:39:02; Raymond Ireland, Hallsville, 48, 3:43:48; Mitch Boeckman, 41, Mineola, 3:45:21; Wes Volberding, 55, Tyler, 4:12:59; and Bradley O’Leary, 37, Tyler, 5:22:58.

Former Tylerite J.T. Peebles, 36, who now resides in Alexandria, Virginia, had a personal-best time of 2:56:59. He finished 1,075th overall and 1,012 among men. Another former Tylerite, Frank Webb, now of Covington, Louisiana, clocked in at 3:17:17.

For Camp, it was his 28th marathon and his eighth Boston Marathon.

“The conditions were tough,” Camp said. “The crowd just keeps you energized from start to finish. Everyone has the day off since it is Patriots’ Day and they are so encouraging.”

NOTES: Tyler’s Harold Wilson, 84, has run the Boston Marathon 11 times, but had to sit out this year with a knee injury.


News editor and avid runner Joe Buie contributed to this story.