A couple weeks ago, Bill Ling of Clementon, N. J. had a particularly strong workout. Feeling good, feeling confident, Ling went ahead and made a bold statement on his Facebook account.
"I'm going to win the Philadelphia Love Run."
That was it. No trash talk, no details.
Turns out he didn't need anything more. This morning—two weeks from the date of his prediction—Bill Ling crossed the finish line in one hour, 14 minute and 19 seconds, becoming the first Philadelphia Love Run champion.
"CALLED IT!" Ling exclaimed in a subsequent status update around 10:45 a.m.
"I had a great feeling after that workout, so I decided to put it out there, make it public," says Ling.
The win didn't come easily, as Ling and thousands of other runners braved conditions that changed throughout the race from damp to harsh.
"I've been running since high school," says Ling, "and if you run long enough you're going to race in some bad weather eventually."
What was more challenging for the first-place finisher was the great unknown—in a first-time race, you never know just what you'll encounter. "CGI Racing did an awesome job putting together this event," adds Ling. "In a first-time race, you never know who else is going to show up, what the competition will look like. That was probably my main concern."
After today's big victory, it's onto Boston for Ling, who qualified for this year's event with his finishing time in the 2013 Marathon. The Boston Marathon is a thrill for any runner, but Ling especially looks forward to standing in solidarity with his peers in three weeks.
"There are going to be mixed emotions for a lot of runners," he admits. "For me, this is a celebration. This is an event—a huge event—that a couple people tried to ruin last year. But that didn't work, and this year [the running community] is coming back strong."
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