Student finishes Boston Marathon in top 11 percent


About 200 feet before crossing the finish line, Cy Fixen collapsed.

Then one of the 27,000 other runners helped the exhausted Fixen cross the line to finish 2,473rd in the Boston Marathon April 18.

“I don’t know who the guy was, but I’m really grateful,” Fixen said.

Fixen, a senior pharmacy major, has been training for the Boston Marathon for six years.

“During the week I run anywhere from 5 to 10 miles a day,” Fixen said.

Fixen has run two other marathons. To qualify for the Boston Marathon, he needed a time of less than 3 hours and 10 minutes. Fixen completed his first marathon in 3 hours and 18 minutes and his second in 3 hours and 6 minutes.

“The [South Dakota] weather made training challenging,” Fixen said. “You have to find somewhere you can run.”

Fixen said running is his “stress relief.”

On his return trip from Boston to Brookings, Fixen reflected on the race.

“The last five miles were tough,” he said. “The thing about [the Boston Marathon] is it is mostly downhill for the first half of the race, and then you get into the hills. [That] is when the real psychological battle starts.”

The last 5.5 miles, near Boston College, is a section known as Heartbreak Hill – named so after the 1936 marathon. At this point, runners “hit the wall,” depleted of glycogen, and the final leg of the race becomes a contest of sheer willpower.

Fixen finished the more than 26-mile run in 03:07:18, with a pace of 7:14 per mile. According to the Boston Marathon website, that places Fixen within the upper 11 percent of all participants in the 18-39 age group.

“It was an emotional finish,” Fixen said, sounding a little choked up. “To have so many people cheering you on … it was cool.”

Fixen’s family and friends were there to cheer for him and to keep a careful watch on him as he reached the 25-mile mark.

“They said I looked good as I ran by,” Fixen said. “When I finished, I was running on fumes.”

A day after the race, Fixen said he needed a few days to recover.

“Today’s sore, tomorrow will be the worst,” he said.

Fixen tried to put the whole experience into words.

“It’s hard to put my finger on it,” Fixen said. “When you run across the finish line, it is an unbelievable experience. It’s hard to communicate the feeling. It reminds you that you’re glad to be alive.”