NEW BRTIAN — Connecticut runners are heading to Massachusetts at the crack of dawn Monday to participate in the Boston Marathon.
Fox Connecticut caught up with New Britain’s top cop, an avid athlete who has been running the Boston Marathon for more than two decades.
It’s the night before Monday’s marathon, and New Britain Police Chief Jim Wardwell already seems ready to go.
“Tomorrow is a big day on so many levels,” said Wardwell.
Runners often have their prerace rituals, and Wardwell is no different. He says he eats a couple of unfrosted cinnamon Pop Tarts before each race.
“It’s not exactly what you would think is the breakfast of champions , but I’ve been doing it for years, and you don’t want to mess with a good thing,” Wardwell said.
The police chief is a member of the Hartford Track Club and has run in 80 marathons. He ran his first Boston Marathon in 1990.
He finished the 2013 marathon in 3 hours, 14 minutes, an hour or so before the bombs went off.
“I wasn’t anywhere near the finish line, but I can hear and feel the explosions,” Wardwell said.
Chief Wardwell says he’s not watching the clock when he runs in the 2014 marathon.
“Monday’s marathon is the one I’ve thought least about time. I don’t really care. I want to be there. I want to support the folks, the hurt, and certainly support the memories of those that were killed,” Wardwell said.
Wardwell added that he never thought twice about running, though he says he will worry about the safety of the 26.2-mile course after the tragic events of last year.
“I’m going to be one extra set of eyes for them whether they realize it or not. I’ll be in the mix,” Wardwell said.
Wardwell considers himself to be spiritual. He says he pins a scapular of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the inside of his shorts during every race he has ran in since high school.
He says before the start of every Boston Marathon, he prays for everyone to have a safe race.
“I always say a prayer at the starting line. Tomorrow’s will be just a little more meaningful,” Wardwell said.