Allison Luse of St. Paul finished the 2014 Boston Marathon in an impressive 3:29:53. Anyone who knows her running buddy, David Munn of Minneapolis, immediately knew his finishing time, too: 3:29:53.
Since meeting through friends a few years ago, thirty-something Allison and 59-year-old David are comically in sync in nearly every race they run. The two attorneys completed the 2012 Mankato Marathon (to qualify for Boston) in 3:26:14, earning virtually identical bib numbers. And they’re rarely more than a few seconds apart in shorter challenges.
“I never really had anyone to run with who ran the way I wanted to,” Allison says. “We are really compatible,” agrees David, who says Allison is like a favorite niece to him.
Since running the 100th Boston Marathon in 1996, David had dialed back his running to about four miles a few times a week, competing in an occasional 10k.
Then friends introduced him to Allison, a solitary runner who competed in cross-country in high school. They were amazed at how similar their paces were. “I wasn’t the best at sports,” says Allison. “But running? I just loved it.”
Soon, David’s mileage was climbing. “And we were getting faster and that was cool,” Allison says.
On their first run in March 2012, a six-mile jaunt around Lake of the Isles, they talked the whole time.
During races, they learned it was best to be quiet. “We want to conserve our energy,” she says. They run three days a week, up to 12 miles each time, along the Chain of Lakes or Mississippi River.
“But we don’t need to run a marathon,” the two agreed. Then Allison changed her mind. “I want to qualify for Boston,” she announced out of the blue. “OK,” said David. “I guess I could help you do that.”
Too late to qualify for 2013, they set their sights on 2014, having no idea how special, or emotional, that marathon would be. They joined a Boston training group through Life Time Fitness in St. Louis Park, doing hill workouts and speed training, and adding mileage.
“I think I was tired, but I don’t remember,” Allison says of her first marathon. “That’s why you do it again.” David laughs. “I certainly wouldn’t have been running another marathon without Allison, particularly not one after the worst possible winter to train.”
As it turned out, Allison needed her steady buddy on Monday. Maybe it was the heat, or nerves, or hills, but at about Mile 15, Allison’s goal of a 3:14 Boston finish evaporated. Would she even complete it? And then she looked over. “I had David with me. He kept saying, ‘You can do this!’ He reminded me of the training, the reason we were doing this.”
As always, they finished together. Allison’s fiancé, Trent Riter, was there to cheer them on, as was David’s wife, Linda. The Boston Marathon, Allison says, “was an amazing experience.”
But the road to Boston was even better.
“Trent calls David my mentor,” Allison says. “But he’s a lot more than that. I can talk to him about job stuff, life stuff. He won’t judge. It’s a special relationship we have.”