Somebody has to come in last in every race, and Dana Maguire is proud to have that distinction in last weekend’s Kansas City Marathon.
She’s just glad she finished.
The 34-year-old nurse began training for the event as part of a weight-loss effort that included band surgery. She would take long walking excursions from her Brookside home. A year and a half ago, she weighed more than 300 pounds. By race day, she was down to 193.
Completing the 26.2-mile marathon was “the hardest thing I have ever done in my life," Maguire said.
She started with the other runners just after 7 a.m. Actually, she wasn’t a runner. She was a walker, but a fast walker for her height, 5 feet 3 1/2 inches.
Still, “it was painfully obvious early on in the race that I was at the back of the pack," Maguire said. “I was the caboose."
Around mile 10, she realized that she had her very own police escort.
“To that officer, whoever you are, I say thank you!" Maguire said. “Thank you for being there, for driving the slowest your poor car could probably go and for being such a good sport."
After the mile 17 marker, she was told that she had to move out of the street and onto the sidewalk. She was on her own.
The next couple of miles were hard. Maguire cried, but she said she never considered quitting.
“I had only to race against myself and everything I’d overcome," she said.
She clocked in at 6 hours, 59 minutes and 14 seconds. She was the 1,560th out of 1,560.
A friend gave her some words of wisdom:
“Dead-last finish is better than did not finish, which greatly trumps did not start."