WACO, Texas (KWTX) A local runner who finished 618th in a field of more than 25,000 runners at this year’s Boston Marathon over the weekend may have crossed the finish line near the front of the pack, but his journey to get there didn’t begin until only a few years ago.
Ridley Holmes, 20, completed the Boston Marathon with a personal record of 2:44:31, finishing as the 572nd overall male in a group of runners who have logged hundreds of thousands of hours and years in training.
But the 2016 Live Oak Classical School graduate didn’t actually get serious about pounding the pavement until he was in college.
“I just kind of stumbled into it,” the Baylor junior said.
“But if you do it long enough, you just get better.”
Holmes competed on the cross-country team in high school mostly for fun, he says, and when he got to Baylor he found running was a way to clear his mind.
He had no idea it would also be something he was quite good at, too.
“For me it’s a good way to kind of get some nice quiet time, to listen to a sermon or podcast before everyone is awake,” he said.
The miles turned into more miles and by December of his freshman year at Baylor, Holmes was signed up for his first marathon.
By 2018, Ridley qualified for the Boston Marathon, enduring cold and wet conditions to finish in front of a crowd that included his mother, local teacher Dawn Holmes, with a time of 3:06.
This year, a great performance in the White Rock marathon in Dallas followed by a quick time in Houston led him to running in Boston again.
This time his father, Chris Holmes, the general counsel at Baylor, made the trip along with some friends.
“I don’t really run for pace and when I run I’m really running for personal reasons,” he said. “The best part is getting to be a part of a big group effort. With races that big it’s not about placing as much as it is finishing with everyone else.”
This weekend’s marathon marked Holmes’ fifth, but he appears to be hooked.
“I finished my season so I’m taking a little time off,” Ridley said.
“The next race I’ll run is to try out for the Baylor cross country team in the fall.”