Apr 17, 2023 - Things to Do

4 Charlotteans running the Boston Marathon

Chris Zuerner running the Boston Marathon. Photo: Courtesy of Chris Zuerner

Chris Zuerner running the Boston Marathon. Photo: Courtesy of Chris Zuerner

Hundreds of North Carolinians will run the Boston Marathon today.

What’s happening: Around 30,000 runners will be in Boston to run one of the World Marathon Majors, a list that also includes New York, Chicago, Tokyo, London and Berlin.

  • ESPN will broadcast the race today from 8:30am until 1pm.

Why it matters: Boston is one of the world’s most prestigious road races. Runners either have to qualify for it or participate on behalf of a charity.

Of note: This year’s race marks 10 years since the bombings that killed three and shook Boston, as Axios’ Steph Solis reported.

By the numbers: 566 runners from North Carolina registered for the Boston Marathon, per race organizers, and 93 of them list Charlotte as their home address. 

  • Charlotte Running Club hosted a sendoff party for Charlotteans running Boston last week at the Trolley Barn.

We caught up with four Charlotteans preparing for Boston after a run on the Rail Trail in South End with Triple C’s run club, which meets every Thursday at 6:30pm.

Charlotte Running Club members. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Running Club.
Photo courtesy of Phil Sanford.

 Casey Cline

Cline, a 35-year-old landscape architect by day, is running Boston for the third time. She’s completed 17 marathons since running her first in Charleston in 2013, including London last fall and the Antelope Canyon Ultra earlier this year. She’s a running coach on the side.

  • A friend yelled after her, “you’re gonna qualify for Boston,” during her second marathon. She had no idea what that meant in the moment, but after that marathon, she made Boston a goal, qualifying for it in her seventh marathon.

Advice for runners looking to complete their first marathon or qualify for Boston: “Dedicate yourself to the process,” Cline says. “Be consistent in your training. Know that it might take some time, but you can get there.”

  • Cline also suggests hiring a coach to help you nail down your training.
  • Her final piece of advice is to “find your why.” She says her “why” is “to glorify God.”
Casey Cline at the Boston Marathon
Casey Cline. Photo: Courtesy Casey Cline

Franklin Keathley

Keathley, a 41-year-old IT consultant, is a four-time Boston runner. Keathley grew up playing soccer, but after college he wanted to find a way to stay in shape and meet people. He joined Charlotte Running Club, which is where he met his wife, Paula Pridgen, who ran Boston and New York in the pro-field. In other words, she’s elite.

  • He’s run six marathons, including Charlotte, New York and Wilmington.
  • Several runners, including Keathley, ran from the Trader Joe’s in south Charlotte to NoDa for brunch at Jack Beagle’s covering 21 miles, mostly using the Cross Charlotte Trail.

Advice: Run with people who are faster than you.

  • “It’s funny, because runners are very supportive of each other, but they always think they’re not the fast ones, but if you’re out there running at all, someone thinks you’re the fast one,” Keathley says.
Franklin Keathley (left) and his wife, Paula Pridgen after the Boston Marathon.
Franklin Keathley (left) and his wife, Paula Pridgen after the Boston Marathon. Photo: Courtesy of Franklin Keathley

Will Martin

When Martin isn’t coordinating player and coach interviews for Charlotte FC, you’ll find him running around Charlotte. The 24-year-old played soccer for the Queens Royals, but when he graduated in 2020, he knew wanted to stay active.

  • Martin got serious about running, tackling his first marathon in 2021.
  • He’s run five marathons, including Myrtle Beach, Charlotte, Tobacco Road and Marquette.

Advice: Find your community. He says finding his at different run clubs throughout the city helped him reach his goal of qualifying for Boston.

Will Martin running his first marathon. Photo: Courtesy of Will Martin
Will Martin running his first marathon, Myrtle Beach. Photo: Courtesy of Will Martin

Chris Zuerner

Zuerner, 34, always thought runners were crazy. But the former NC State soccer player was inspired by a friend who ran Boston in 2018.

  • This will be Zuerner’s fourth time running Boston. He was the first person from North Carolina to finish the race last year.
  • Since running his first marathon in Hilton Head in 2019, he has tackled 11 others, including Charlotte, Chicago, Myrtle Beach and New York.

What’s next: He’ll run Berlin in the fall.

Advice: Set a goal for yourself. Put a plan together. Work at it, and you can accomplish anything you want to.

1 fun thing: Outside of his day job at Bank of America, Zuerner officiates college soccer games for the ACC and he was one of the officials for Clemson vs. UCLA in the NCAA Tournament. He also reffed Martin’s games at Queens.

Chris Zuerner running the Boston Marathon. Photo: Courtesy of Chris Zuerner
Chris Zuerner running the Boston Marathon. Photo: Courtesy of Chris Zuerner
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