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Natick paralympian Anjali Forber-Pratt 'unbelievably stoked' as Boston Marathon nears

Posted by Leslie Anderson  April 15, 2011 10:57 AM

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Joe Kusumot
Anjali Forber-Pratt during the Beijing Paralympics.
Anjali Forber-Pratt, raised in Natick and now one of the top US wheelchair sprinters, is preparing for her first Boston Marathon on April 18. She has been training in Champaign, Ill.

What are your thoughts in these final days?
 
It is surreal being out here. For so long, I’ve been sharing my story about being a young aspiring racer who once dressed up on Halloween as the winner of the Boston Marathon who said “someday, I’ll do Boston”.  Someday has now become “Monday”!

I am truly excited about this race, it’s yet another one of my dreams come true.  There are also some nerves, for sure. I mean, I am a sprinter, there is no denying that! I feel confident in my training and that I’ll be able to go out there and do my best...and I hear there might be a tailwind which makes me pretty happy!

Regardless of the outcome, I am truly blessed to have such amazing supporters and fans who have followed me as I have the opportunity to come full circle. I do hope that folks will continue to follow me in my quest to represent the United States at the London 2012 Paralympic Games as well.
 
How will you focus your mind the day of the race? Do you have a particular racing strategy?
 
Since I’m not an avid marathoner, I have a really hard time focusing my mind for the duration of an entire marathon. I certainly have strategies that I use when I’m on the track, but 26.2 miles is much longer than the 100m! It’s actually 422 hundred-meter sprints. My plan is to focus on my target splits and to get into a good rhythm early on in my pushing stroke sequence.
 
How many entrants are there in the women’s wc division? Are there particular racers or vets who stand out?
 
You know, to be honest, I don’t know, but I’ll certainly know once I get to the starting line! I might know more once I go and pick up my race number and packet.  I have heard there’s probably about ten women this year. Certainly there are some very strong marathoners who will be here, the reigning Boston champion Wakako Tsuichida as well as my fellow Americans, Shirley Reilley (1st place finish this year at the L.A. Marathon) and Christina Ripp.
 
Are you in Boston now?
 
I sure am! I flew in today and was giving speeches from Ashland to Boston on behalf of the Hartford helping to educate about U.S. Paralympics, the second largest sporting event in the world, sharing my story highlighting what people with disabilities can do. I truly am confident that I’ll have loud cheers the whole way!
 
How will you prepare the day before the race? Will you hang out with family? With friends and teammates?
 
I’m not really sure yet how the day will unfold. The rest of my University of Illinois teammates arrive Saturday night. Typically the day before a big race I go for an easy jog followed by laying low, resting and hydrating. I’m hoping to see some family and close friends if they are able to come by my hotel to say hello, but really the day before the race is about resting and making sure all everything is in order.
 
Anything else you’d like to say?
 
Please come out and cheer wicked loudly! I’m unbelievably stoked for the fact that I can literally say I know people in every town I’ll be pushing through, so I sure hope I’ll hear you! I will need it!!! My race number is #W103 and I’ll be wearing my Illinois racing suit—sporting the orange and blue of course--and push in a silver chair with red markings and a grey helmet! And, as I mentioned earlier, I truly hope you all will continue to follow me as I hope to make the London 2012 Paralympic team for the sprints! Follow me on facebook: www.facebook.com/anjalifp or on twitter @anjalifp 

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