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On Friday, September 11, 2020, the 124th Boston Marathon ran through Lisbon, Arkansas. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s race was changed to a virtual run.

Leslie Darden qualified for the Boston Marathon by running a time of 3:30.56 in Chicago. Friday’s run through Lisbon wasn’t quite a fast. She finished in a time of 4:44 over the 26.2-mile course.

All things considered, she said it was a satisfying experience.

“It went amazing considering the temps and elevation,” Darden said. “We had great support from family, friends and two different campfire groups. They made signs and helped with water and cheered us on. We changed halfway because everything was so wet, and it helped. Nothing like an actual race but I still got emotional crossing that ‘finish line.’ Always will.”

Darden said she made the run with her friend Chelsey Owens. She was thankful for all the support received and still has a dream to get to Boston to run in the actual race.

“My running buddy was great, and we stuck it out together,” said Darden. “Thankful for each and every person that was out here and the ones that texted during to check on us. It helps more than they know. This makes me a Boston Marathoner, but I won't stop until I get the real experience.”

• • •

Smackover native Carrie Jackson, who also qualified for the Boston Marathon, announced recently she planned to do her virtual run today in Junction City.

It was sort of a last-minute decision for Jackson.

“I didn’t train and had decided not to run it but changed my mind when the packet came in,” Jackson said. “Working two jobs and I was honestly too tired to train. I haven’t run over eight miles all summer, but I’m determined I can do it.”

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