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Christian’s Sports Beat: Bowen has his eyes on Boston

November 15, 2018

Two years ago I finished third in the 5K race portion of the Marshall University Marathon event. While I was waiting around cheering on friends of mine finishing the half-marathon and marathon races the same morning, I recognized the first-place finisher of the marathon and couldn’t wait to congratulate Marshall University’s cross country assistant coach Caleb Bowen. This year I got to do it again by phone as he won the 26.2-mile race for a second time.

It was 43 degrees and sunny when the race began at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4, perfect running conditions. I asked Bowen to describe the experience.

“It was my goal coming into the race to win and the conditions were to my liking,” he said. “I went out with a control pace, clicking off 6-minute or so miles through the early part of the race and then started to pick things up around the 10-mile point. I actually used some of the half-marathoners to pace me and for the second half of the race I had some of my team runners work with me and help me get through to the finish.”

Bowen, 25, came in with a finishing time of 2 hours, 39 minutes and 39 seconds, topping the runner-up finisher by over 12-minutes.

Bowen has used the Marshall Marathon to qualify for a spot in the Boston Marathon and has run in the most famous 26.2 mile race twice. Bowen is set to run in the 2019 Boston event, but was looking for a quicker qualifying time to move closer to the starting line.

“I had a time of 2:41 and change and by dropping it by two minutes, I will move up a lot because there are a lot of runners between the 39- and 41-minute mark.”

Bowen is now in place to run in Boston if he wants through 2020.

I found out after Bowen finished the Marshall race, he was waiting at the finish line for his 48-year-old father Charley Bowen, who finished in 26th place with a time of 3:16.59. Bowen says that now means the 2020 Boston Marathon will be a father-and-son memory making run.

“I was pretty emotional - I won’t lie - when I saw him coming down the finish shoot; I knew he had been putting in a lot of good work prior to the race,” Caleb Bowen said of his father. “I knew he was really fit, it was just getting the time he needed to qualify. The hug between the two of us afterwards was probably one of the proudest moments I have ever experienced in my life.”

Overall, the one event had 1,391 participants, including 312 who did the full marathon distance.

Some of the biggest cheerleaders for Bowen throughout the race were the student-athlete members of his Marshall Cross Country team. Having them out there on the course was important for Bowen.

“It definitely helped because in the Marshall race there are areas that there aren’t many people cheering you on from the sides of the streets and having my runners out there throughout the race helped me to push on through the entire event. With them being out there and with some of them running with me kept me from having too many negative thoughts.”

The start of the race was in front of Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, while the finish is inside the stadium on the football stadium in one of the end zones.

Getting to write this column has given me a couple of opportunities to follow up on a column subject, but this time around it was like Deja Vu. Congrats Coach Bowen - now onto Boston, again.

Christian Deiss, 14, of Scott Depot is a freshman at Hurricane High School.

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