Slade Casey, 45, hopes to complete the 26 miles of winding roads and city streets in 3 hours and 15 minutes, or 7.5 minutes for every single mile.
“There are not too many people that run the same speed I do, that I know,” Casey said about running the course alone. “It is a gift I have been given … To me, it is effortless.”
Casey began training for the Boston Marathon 19 weeks ago. At the peak of his regime, Casey was running 70 miles a week, a little less than nine hours total.
On March 1, he finished a 20-mile run. To go on a long run, Casey has to start by navigating the hills around his home in east Cobb’s Fox Hills subdivision.
“Training in Atlanta is great for Boston,” Casey said. “Yeah, the course is grueling, but we are prepared for it because the terrain is similar.”
Casey said being a marathon runner was only possible because of self-discipline and the support of family.
With morning runs starting at 5:45 a.m., sometimes in just above freezing temperatures, Casey said he tried to finish by 7 a.m. to help his wife, Kim, with their five children.
The last two weeks, Casey has tapered off his regime, and today will be his last track practice at Walton High School before heading to Boston on Sunday.
Like many marathon runners, Casey pushed through moments of leg fatigue and hamstring cramps.
“It is nagging soreness,” Casey said, and knowing the difference between being sore and being injured is important.
A marathon runner
Monday’s race will be the fourth marathon Casey has run since committing to the sport while in high school in Tallahassee, Fla.
“It is a way for me to de-stress,” he said.
Competing in the Boston Marathon is a “dream come true” for Casey, where he will test his skills against the elites of the running world.
The world’s oldest annual race, the Boston Marathon attracts 500,000 spectators each year and an average of 20,000 registered participants.
In March 2013, Casey used The Publix Georgia Marathon to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but registration was already full.
Casey said he was struck with instant sadness when he heard about the tragedy on April 15, 2013, when two pressure cooker bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three people and injuring an estimated 264 others.
The best thing about running is “you can put on a pair of shoes and get on a sidewalk and go,” Casey said. “We felt like our freedom was being challenged.”
This year, Casey said he was told there was such overwhelming support that 10,000 people were cut off from participating after registration was full.
“I am blessed to have qualified at a time when remembrance, sadness and celebration will dominate the emotions of the day,” Casey said. “No matter how I perform, it will be a special day to be a participant.”
Casey moved to Cobb in 1996 and later met his wife, Kim, who is from Marietta.
In October 2013, Casey became a franchise owner of BlueGrace Logistics, a transportation company based in Riverview, Fla., with 44 locations across the country.
“I was in the transportation industry for 19 years, and I decided to go out on my own,” Casey said.
Because of the large amount of warehouse districts in Cherokee and Cobb, Casey said the area has a lot of bulk freight shipping needs.