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WSU grad student completes Boston Marathon
Friday, Apr. 27, 2012
By Tallie Mattson, WSU News intern
PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University doctoral student Jim Parejko checked another item off his bucket list April 16 when he ran in the elite Boston Marathon. Unlike other bucket lists, however, his is a list of marathons.
Parejko completed the race with a time of 2 hours, 42 minutes and 23 seconds. He was 104th overall, 85th in the 18-39 age group, and the 93rd male to finish.
Those rankings become a bit more impressive when you consider that this year's Boston Marathon (26 miles and 385 yards) included 26,656 runners.
To participate, each entrant must run in a certified marathon and achieve a qualifying time, determined by their age.
"I was hoping to run about 14 minutes faster than I did,” said Parejko, a microbiology student.
But the weather didn't cooperate, with temperatures spiking into the 80’s. "I knew going in that I would suffer pretty bad from the heat, as I don’t run well in it.”
Adjusting his expectations, Parejko decided to try and finish the race, he said.
Parejko said he might attempt the Boston Marathon again in 2013, if circumstances allow.
"It’s frustrating to not be able to run as fast as you want due to uncontrollable circumstances, especially in a race like the Boston Marathon,” Parejko said.
Parejko has been running about 12 years. He became serious in high school and honed his skills as a Division III athlete in cross-country and track at the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse.
"To me, an important part of running is just being outside, even when it’s 10 degrees out,” Parejko said. "It gives me a chance to enjoy the outdoors a little each day.”
Parejko runs daily in Pullman and has found the hills to be a nice challenge. He usually runs on a bike trail around the perimeter of Pullman, and competes in local races like Campus on the Run.
At WSU, Parejko is working on his Ph.D. in microbiology in the School of Molecular Biosciences. He works with Linda Thomashow in the USDA-ARS Root Disease and Biological Control Unit.
The two are researching antibiotic bacteria that might protect cereal crops from soil-dwelling pathogens in dry land fields of the Inland Pacific Northwest.
Parejko will finish his doctoral work this year and hopes to obtain a postdoctoral position in an area of microbial ecology. His long-term plans are to become a professor of microbiology and microbial ecology.