So what are the chances that the three Ojai runners registered for the 2012 Boston Marathon all have a connection to Ojai Valley School?
That is exactly the case for Ojai residents Sophocles Cotsis, Glenn Fout and Fred Alvarez, who are all set to run Boston on April 16.
Mr. Cotsis is a former coach and dorm parent at the OVS Lower Campus. Mr. Fout is an alumnus from the Upper Campus Class of 1980, and later served as a dorm parent and Lower Campus librarian. And Mr. Alvarez is a current teacher and cross country coach at OVS’ high school campus.
For the past several months, all three have dedicated themselves to taking on the rigorous and storied Boston Marathon course. Now in its 116th year, the Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the best-known road racing events.
“This task is hopefully going to be fun, and probably will test myself and my colleagues,” said Mr. Fout.
Beginning in 1987, Mr. Cotsis worked as a coach and dorm parent at the Lower Campus for 14 years, and eventually became the director of the school’s summer programs. Now, he works four 10-hour days each week as the recreation supervisor for the Ojai Recreation Department.
Despite his rigorous work schedule, Mr. Cotsis has managed to find time to train for the Boston Marathon.
“One of the biggest obstacles…is finding the time to work out,” he said. “I usually do three running workouts during the week, and I try to supplement with some cross training on the bike or with the elliptical.
Mr. Cotsis’ running career began in high school where he ran cross country and track, and it continued during his college days at Assumption College in Worcester, MA.
He has run four marathons since then, qualifying for Boston at the Long Beach Marathon with a time of 3:23:57.
“My mentality is to run less, but still train hard so I can run faster,” he said.
Mr. Fout is the most seasoned of the Boston-bound marathoners.
Following his graduation from the Upper Campus, he has run nine marathons after only participating in one season of cross country in his high school career.
Mr. Fout, who operates a catering business with his wife in Santa Barbara, has run the Napa Marathon, the Los Angeles Marathon, which he ran with Mr. Cotsis, the Wild Wild West Marathon in the Eastern Sierras twice, the Long Beach Marathon, which he also ran with Mr. Cotsis, the Boston Marathon, the Ojai to Ocean Marathon, the Hurricane Jem Marathon in Utah, and the California International Marathon in Sacramento, which he also ran with Mr. Cotsis.
“I ran my personal best in the Sacramento Marathon back in December,” said Mr. Fout, who recorded a time of 3:14:19 at that race in December. “If you’re wondering how much a marathon takes out of you, I can still feel the aftermath soreness and pain from that race. Really, the marathons take a lot of energy and physical toughness.”
Mr. Alvarez is the only runner still involved daily with the Ojai Valley School. He teaches world history, humanities, and journalism at the Upper Campus, while also coaching cross country and track.
He has run the San Francisco Marathon twice, running a Boston-qualifying time last summer of 3:19:48.
While Mr. Fout and Mr. Cotsis are very well acquainted, Mr. Alvarez had never met either of them until recently.
“Fout emailed me in September after I earned my Boston entry and he said that he recognized that I was from Ojai,” said Mr. Alvarez, who plans to meet Mr. Fout and Mr. Cotsis in Boston before and after the marathon.
Each runner has set a personal goal for this year’s race. For Mr. Alvarez, who ran cross country and track in both high school and college, it is to run faster than his last race while also trying to soak up the singular experience that is the Boston Marathon.
“I think that my big goal is to run this one without any distress,” said Mr. Alvarez. “Too many times I have just had difficulty coming down the stretch during a race. But, this is my chance to change that.”Share