Chase runs in Boston Marathon

Esther Noe
On April 15 Brady Chase achieved his dream of competing in the 128th Boston Marathon. 
Chase is the Hill City Elementary School third grade teacher and the Hill City Middle School girls basketball and track coach. When he started coaching track in 2021, Chase wanted to stay in shape and run with the students. So he started running eight to 10 miles a day and going for a 20 to 25-mile long run on the weekend. 
Later, while talking about running and training with the high school cross country and track coaches, Joe Noyes and Jared Noyes asked what Chase’s goal was. Chase said he did not have a goal to which they responded, “You’re doing a really good job. You should really try doing a marathon.” 
With their encouragement, Chase participated in the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon in the summer of 2023. This was Chase’s first marathon, and he placed second overall. Three weeks later, Chase ran at the Missoula Marathon and entered his time of two hours, 46 minutes in the Boston Marathon. 
Since qualifying, Chase said the marathon felt way off on the horizon until it was suddenly almost here. 
“As it got closer, I really needed to pay attention to what I was doing physically,” said Chase. 
He started watching what he ate, stretching more and holding back on mileage and speed to give his body time to recover before the big day “because marathon training takes a lot out of you.”
On his last day at school before heading to Boston, the staff at the elementary school organized a volley of surprises for Chase. 
“It was utter pandemonium all day. It was awesome,” said Chase. “I had no idea.”
To start, a group of teachers decorated Chase’s classroom before he arrived at school that morning. 
Then, art teacher Jessica Kautz had all the elementary students draw a unicorn because it is the symbol of the Boston Marathon. She took the drawings and put them on a short-sleeved button-up shirt for Chase, which he wore after the race. 
“Next thing I know, I’m going up to Mr. Gardner’s office thinking, ‘Oh man, I’m probably in trouble for something.’ And then my parents are sitting in his office, so now I know I’m in trouble for something,” said Chase. 
As it turns out, the Hill City School District planned a send-off for Chase down Main Street with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office and the Hill City Volunteer Fire Department leading the way. Students and community members lined the street holding signs and cheering Chase on. 
“It was insane,” said Chase. “Out of the near 30,000 people that ran, I don’t think anybody got the treatment that I got. It was awesome. Just being able to share that experience with them and having them made it exponentially better.
“I was engulfed with support, which I wasn’t quite ready for. It was an emotional day. I’m not going to say I didn’t cry, but I got close.” 
As for the trip itself, Chase said, “It was amazing. Boston is such a cool city. I got to meet so many different people.”
He got to meet people he looks up to in the running and social media world, including the guy who won the Boston Marathon in 2014. Chase also ran into a college roommate, a friend from Rapid City and two runners from the Missoula Marathon. 
“No matter how big it all feels,” said Chase, “it’s still small town USA.”
Chase ran for Saucony, which is the brand of running shoes he uses. They gave him a free pair of shoes and a full race kit to wear. Chase said, “It made me feel like a real athlete.”
While in Boston, Chase was surprised by the amount of support people gave the marathon runners. 
“It’s such a one-of-a- kind thing. I don’t think anyone else in the world takes on a marathon like Boston does,” said Chase. “Just to have that support from utter strangers was really cool.” 
The race itself was well spread out, according to Chase. He had to bob and weave a little, but the runners were not shoulder-to-shoulder. Instead, they were able to take in the race without feeling crowded. 
What surprised Chase the most was the amount of people who came to cheer on the runners. In previous marathons Chase participated in, there were cheer teams spaced out along the course. 
However, at the Boston Marathon, Chase said, “It was wall-to-wall people screaming the entire time for 26.2 miles. I was surprised I didn’t tear my rotator cuff. I had to give out 200 high fives.” 
“It was energizing. It was euphoric almost,” said Chase. 
In the first five miles, Chase thought he was going a little fast. Then, he saw a line of children who reminded him of the Hill City Elementary School students. 
“I went through, and I high-fived every single one of them,” said Chase. 
Energized by the crowd, Chase ended up running faster than he had hoped or expected. He averaged 6.14 minute miles for the marathon. 
After training for so long, Chase said you cross the finish line and “there’s a split second where you’re like, ‘Man, what do I do now? How do I top this? How do I keep doing what I’m doing?’
“But then after that split second of ‘What do I do next?’ you just enjoy the moment. The emotions kind of run wild.” 
Wearing bib number 2281 M-28, Chase finished with a time of 2:43:20. He placed 658th out of 24,554 overall runners, 626th out of 14,578 male runners and 529th out of 4,849 men in the 18 to 39 age category.
“I’d do it 10 times over again. Your body hurts. You’re mentally destroyed, but it’s one of those things. I’d never change that for the world. There’s nothing in the world that I would trade that experience out for,” said Chase. “Hopefully it won’t be my last one, and hopefully it won’t be my best one. Hopefully I can build up from here.” 
Now Chase has five major marathons in New York, Chicago, Berlin, Tokyo and London on his list. Signups for some of these marathons have already happened so Chase said he might stick to local marathons in the next year and turn them into vacations to sight-see with his wife. 
For the sake of comparison, Chase said, “I want to get those other five done before I maybe go back and do Boston.”
Looking back on the experience, Chase said, “Thank you to the community. Man, Hill City made this experience more than anything I could have ever imagined. I don’t think there’s another town in America that I could have been a part of and that would have done what Hill City did.
“And thanks to the kids. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know if I’d want to keep doing any ‘cause they’re so excited about it. They made me feel like some kind of pseudo-celebrity.
“I could say thank you every second until the day they put me six feet under, and I probably won’t have thanked the town of Hill City enough.” 
Those interested can continue following Chase’s running journey on Instagram @chasing_brady.

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