Jacobson completes fifth marathon

Jonathan Greenzaid

Jacobson's personal running experence makes him a role model for the students he coaches on the CHS track team.

By Jonathan Greenzaid, Online Sports Editor

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Fifty-year old CHS head cross country coach and history teacher Paul Jacobson ran in the 2014 Boston Marathon April 21. Before the race, Jacobson set a goal to finish the grueling 26.2 miles of his fifth marathon in under three hours; however, to his disappointment he crossed the finish line in three hours, four minutes, 29 seconds.

“I knew what was coming when I reached the finish line,” Jacobson said. “I was disappointed, but I got over that pretty quickly because just to be there in Boston was great. The atmosphere in Boston was amazing. I am a competitive person, and I never wanted to say I got over a three hour time, but sometimes things just don’t go your way.”

A year after the Boston bombings shook the city at last year’s marathon, the 35,671 participating in the race were set to “take Boston back.” The race was a symbol of the continuous heart and grit of the city to get back up off its feet.

“You really wanted to do well for the fans cheering,” Jacobson said. “It was special for me to be a part of history to take Boston back.”

According to Jacobson, he “hit the wall” at around the 20 mile mark as multitudes of people passed him at this point.

“The spirit was willing but the body was weak,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson started running at Einstein High School after he was cut from the soccer team in grade 10. He started off pole vaulting, but soon found out he was a better distance runner. Jacobson is currently in the Einstein Hall of Fame for athletes, and during his senior year he was part of the school’s State Championship track team.

Jacobson later went on to run at Montgomery College and then the University of Maryland.

“At Maryland, I got to travel a lot and was the only one from the state on the [University of Maryland] team,” Jacobson said. “Most of the other guys were from Boston.”

Prior to the Boston Marathon, Jacobson ran 70 to 80 miles a week, and some days he ran as many as 22 miles, with most of his long runs on the C&O Canal.

“Somehow, I need to prove myself,” Jacobson said. “I feel bad when I don’t push myself everyday. There is always someone training harder than you, and it takes effort and dedication in order to become successful.”

Jacobson has run at least 75,000 miles in his lifetime. Additionally, in the metro area 50-54 age group, he is ranked fourth.

“He never stops,” head track coach Scott Silverstein said. “Sometimes he even pushes a little too hard. He has the craziest work ethic for running I have ever seen.”

Jacobson’s favorite competitive races to run are 5k or 10k runs. He runs in one of these races almost every other weekend, and knows many of the guys he is running against from past races.

“It’s human nature,” Jacobson said. “I want to beat the guys standing next to me.”

Jacobson’s experience and dedication as a runner have also helped him become a better track coach.

“He knows the pain and the effort that it takes for an athlete to complete his events,” junior track runner David Fitzgerald said. “Mr. Jacobson has helped me become a better runner because he knows how to run. He has become a great mentor to me, and I have great respect towards him.”