Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Local Runner Back after 21-Year Break

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Local Runner Back after 21-Year Break

Article excerpt

Byline: Alex Abrams, Times-Union sports writer

The navy blue track singlet that David Ohnsman wore in the 1982 Boston Marathon had faded over the years, but it wasn't enough to keep the Neptune Beach real estate investor from wearing it again yesterday.

Ohnsman, 59, who hadn't competed in the 26.2-mile event in 21 years because of surgeries on both knees, finished the 107th race with a time of 3:22:17 to finish in 3,008th place. His time was slower than it was in '82, but Ohnsman joked afterward, "I don't do anything like I did 21 years ago."

"The thing that I had totally forgotten was the tremendous crowd," Ohnsman said. "You just get an adrenaline rush the last two miles because it's a wall of people and they're all shouting."

While running the race yesterday, Ohnsman heard a fan shout to him, "Hey Jacksonville!" -- one of the only words that could still be read on the faded singlet. Ohnsman also wore the same white hat that he got at the '82 marathon.

But the similarities between this year's race and the one 21 years ago didn't end there for Ohnsman.

"I got sun-burned [yesterday]," Ohnsman said. "The last time I ran, in 1982, I got sun-burned."

Ohnsman started running long distances, in '74, as a way to rehab a broken left leg sustained when he crashed a motorcycle into a tree. But he stopped taking part in marathons in '84 and had the first of two surgeries to repair cartilage in his knees two years later. He had his second knee surgery in 2000.

Ohnsman returned to running marathons last year and qualified for yesterday's Boston Marathon with a time of 59 minutes, 48 seconds at the 9.3-mile River Run on March 8.

"The interesting thing about this race is that you see people that probably worked harder than me to get there," Ohnsman said, referring to the 27 handicapped individuals who took part yesterday.

Ohnsman admitted that the race's hilly course made it even tougher for him than the River Run. Nonetheless, he finished as the seventh fastest runner from the Jacksonville area. …

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