Roberta Andreasi runs three times a week, doesn't wear a fancy watch and rarely ventures outside to train. The minimalist marathoner will make her Boston debut when she stands on the starting line at the Boston Marathon on April 18.
"I got this Garmin watch, and I couldn't understand it, so I got rid of it on eBay,'' says Roberta, who lives in Norwalk and works in Stamford. "I don't even tie my hair back when I run. All you see is this big, floppy hair coming at you."
Boston will be the third marathon for Roberta, who also ran the Disney Marathon in 2008 (5:02.30) and the New York City Marathon in 2009 (4:44:33). She will run with her niece, Danielle Andreasi. They got into the race by unusual means. Tata Consulting, with whom Roberta's company does business, is one of the race sponsors. In December, it asked whether anyone was interested in running the race. Roberta volunteered, and when no others in the company expressed interest, she contacted Danielle.
Roberta uses a unique training program. In her first marathon, she got the book "Running For Dummies" and found a training program that required three runs per week. She runs 45 minutes on a treadmill on Tuesdays and Thursdays and runs longer on Saturdays, also on a treadmill. She recently ran 21 miles on a treadmill. She averages about 10 minutes per mile.
"Runners get crazy,'' Andreasi said. "I'm committed to it on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. If I need to, I can switch to Sunday. There's no reason to run more. You don't want running to be a chore. You want to enjoy it."
She has many opinions about running. She doesn't wear a watch, for one. "Who cares what time it is? There are clocks all over the course,'' she says. She doesn't listen to music, either. "I play a murder mystery on a book on tape and off I go,'' she said. "Most people can't believe it when I tell them I run on the treadmill all the time. It's fine by me. I'm finding out who murdered whom. The only thing is you need a good narrator. Those ones with British accents just don't work when you're running."
Many marathoners take themselves too seriously, she says. For Roberta, marathons are a fun run from start to finish. She'll leave timing splits, water belts and high-tech gadgets for somebody else. Her goal is simple. Start in Hopkinton, finish in Boston and enjoy everything in between. "I don't really consider myself an athlete,'' Roberta says. "Once you need gear to do stuff, it's no fun."
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