VandenHeede qualifies for Boston Marathon

Published 8:28 am Tuesday, October 23, 2007

By Staff
NILES – Dan VandenHeede of Niles qualified for the Boston Marathon with an effort of 3:20:43 at the Detroit Free Press International Marathon this past weekend.
The Dowagiac Union High School teacher, Niles Senior High School
Girls' varsity cross country coach and member of the Niles City Council finished 49th among 419 runners in his 40-44 age group.
Overall, he finished 272 among 3,819 entrants in the event, which started in Detroit, went over to Windsor, Ontario, Canada, before finishing back in Detroit.
VandenHeede had no time to spare in qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
He made it by just 16 seconds. The Boston Marathon qualifying standard for a male in the age 40-44 category is 3:20, but includes anyone finishing in the 59 seconds before 3:21.
VandenHeede compared his own effort to what his cross country team faces this coming weekend at the regional meet.
"I knew I had a long shot at qualifying and that it would be close, just like I have told my girls about their chances of qualifying for the state meet. For it to happen (qualifying), everything needs to come together just right and you have to believe it can happen – it worked for me and I just hope it can work for our team."
VandenHeede, who previously ran the Chicago Marathon in 2002, was the top finisher from Berrien County in the Detroit event. VandenHeede left for Detroit on Saturday after coaching his Niles team in the Big 16 Conference meet at St. Joseph.
His daughter Elizabeth had a personal record time of 20:57 while finishing 25th in the Big 16 meet. His nephew, Mark Calhoun, was fourth in the Big 16 run with a personal record time of 16:40.
In the Detroit marathon, VandenHeede had a time of 54 minutes at the 7.4-mile mark, a 1:38 at the halfway point of the 26.2-mile event, a 2:08 at the 17.4-mile marker and a 2:31 at the 20.4-mile point.
VandenHeede's time in the Chicago Marathon in 2002 was 3:33:33.