By Shelley Grieshop
Die-hard cross-country runners are a special breed, many times getting up at the crack of dawn to train while most people are still sipping their morning coffee.
Coldwater native Kelly Klosterman fits the energetic mold. The petite 25-year-old puts in a full day at work before heading out for her daily hour-plus jog in preparation for Monday's historic 26.2-mile Boston Marathon.
"I run everyday, usually an hour to an hour and a half," says Klosterman, 25, who now resides in Cincinnati. "Right before a marathon I run two hours or more."
Klosterman, known to race officials as #9440, isn't a novice when it comes to long-distance running. She participated in the Boston Marathon for the first time last year and previously finished six other marathons in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland.
Like most avid runners, she views Monday's race as "the big one." "It really is special, you have such a feeling of accomplishment when you finish," says the 1998 Coldwater High School graduate. "The course is different than most, more hills, great scenery."
Klosterman isn't the only local face this year in the second-largest single day sporting event in the world. (The Super Bowl is first.) Dan Hartings, 48, of Celina, and Pete Lisi, a Coldwater schoolteacher, will depart for the New England area on Saturday.
To qualify for this year's 109th Boston Marathon, runners must be 18 years old and have met qualifying times by competing in another marathon within the last two years. The times are set by Boston officials and vary depending on the runner's age and gender.
Klosterman finished the 2004 Boston Marathon with a time of three hours, 30 minutes -- qualifying her this year with 10 minutes to spare.
Hartings ran his first-ever marathon in Columbus in October and finished in three hours, 29 minutes and 33 seconds -- beating qualification time by just 27 seconds. Hartings' niece, Andrea Selhorst, 23, a Versailles High School graduate, will accompany him in Monday's prestigious race.
Lisi, 26, of Wapakoneta, qualified for Monday's race by running a three-hour, eight-minute and 50-second marathon at Disney World last year. He had to beat a time of three hours and 10 minutes.
Klosterman recalls finishing last year's marathon and the phone call she immediately made to her parents, Luke and Rene Klosterman, back home in Coldwater.
"I screamed, 'Dad, I finished!' It was such a good feeling," she says, explaining how her father is her biggest fan.
Her parents plan to fly to Boston to watch her run this race in person, she says.
While in high school Klosterman ran cross country and track and participated in gymnastics. At the University of Dayton, where she earned a marketing degree in 2002, she continued her love of running as a member of the university's track and cross country teams.
Her running strategy has always been to start slow and pick up speed at the end. At 5-foot, 3-inches tall, her short legs have a lot of pavement to cover. She'd like to beat her own personal best on Monday but agrees with the other local runners that it's "just fun to be running."
"You get to run through some really neat parts of town, and there's all those people out there supporting you along the way," she says. "The whole event focuses on health and how people can have fun without partying or sitting in a bar. I like that."