Bruce Rosendahl (center) ran his first Boston Marathon last year but had to be taken off the course because of dehydration. Soon after, he got a call from a friend about the bombings near the finish line. Rosendahl, who will run again this year, is one of hundreds of Boston marathoners who competes and raises money on behalf of the Boston Children’s Hospital. -- Photo provided
Bruce Rosendahl (center) ran his first Boston Marathon last year but had to be taken off the course because of dehydration. Soon after, he got a call from a friend about the bombings near the finish line. Rosendahl, who will run again this year, is one of hundreds of Boston marathoners who competes and raises money on behalf of the Boston Children’s Hospital. -- Photo provided

Archived Story

Prepping for Boston: Last year’s bombing won’t deter Rosendahl from competing, fundraising [UPDATED]

Published 11:56am Monday, March 24, 2014 Updated 4:10pm Monday, March 24, 2014

Bruce Rosendahl was embarrassed.

After months of training, Rosendahl, who grew up in Fergus Falls and moved to Boston in 2010, was hit with a severe bout of dehydration during last year’s Boston Marathon. He was taken off the course at mile 22 and brought to a nearby hospital.

Soon after, Rosendahl called a friend from his hospital bed to come pick him up. He was angry about how the race had unfolded and was not looking forward to telling friends and family about his experience.

Then it happened.

“Everything changed,” Rosendahl said. “It was no longer about me not finishing. It’s about a completely different situation.”

That same friend who was coming to pick Rosendahl up sent him a text about bombs detonating near the finish line. The bombs went off 30 seconds after his friend left the scene, according to Rosendahl.

There is no telling what could have happened if Rosendahl had stayed on the course or if his friend had not left the finish line area when he did. But Rosendahl does not like to think about those things much.

Instead, he almost immediately set his sights on running the 2014 Boston Marathon. He wanted to finish the race on his terms.

Almost a year later, Rosendahl is in the final stages of training and feels much better than a year ago.

“Last year we were all dumb,” he said of he and his training partners. “We said. ‘How do you train for a marathon? Well, you run and run and run and run.’ This year we thought, ‘Maybe we should read up on this before we try one of the hardest marathons in the world again.’”

Rosendahl began training for this year’s Boston Marathon, the 118th annual edition of the famed event, right after Christmas. Since then, it’s been four or five days of intense training each week.

A typical week starts with a lighter run, perhaps 10 miles or so. He ramps up his work in the middle of the week, running hills to prepare for the infamous “Heartbreak Hill” portion of the marathon. He winds down the week with a slow, long-distance run, the most recent of which was 20 miles.

Along with his running regimen, Rosendahl has added cycling, swimming and CrossFit training into his preparation. These different workouts, along with an improved diet, have Rosendahl feeling as prepared as possible for the marathon, set for April 21.

But this year’s run is not just about personal redemption for Rosendahl. For the second year in a row, he will be running on behalf of the Boston Children’s Hospital. He has been raising money for months for the cause.

“I believe so strongly in all the good things Boston Children’s Hospital does for kids,” he said on his personal fundraising page. “Its patient care programs are unusually sensitive to what sick and injured children and their families really need.”

Rosendahl has gotten some fundraising help from his nephew Austen, who, along with Rosendahl’s brother and mother, will be in Boston to cheer Rosendahl on during the event.

Rosendahl has not decided if he will run another Boston Marathon after this year, but would like to run other famous events, including the New York Marathon. He also plans on getting involved in a few triathlons, with his first one coming up later this year.

He is bound and determined to finish the event this year. He is proud to run in support of the Children’s Hospital and he is looking forward to seeing his family in the crowd.

These things feel especially important, because it all could have turned out so differently.

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