The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Mike Motz
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Running to the 'Big Show' - Wiedeburg Qualifies for Boston Marathon


November 27, 2019

Donna Wiedeburg

Former Sidney High standout Jachob Wiedeburg placed second at the Pilgrim Pacer Marathon in Shawnee, KS on Sunday Nov. 17. His time qualified him to run in the Boston Marathon.

He'll have to wait until 2021 to compete, but former Sidney High track and cross-country standout Jachob Wiedeburg placed second in the Pilgrim Pacer Marathon on Shawnee Park, Kansas on Sunday Nov. 17, and his time of 2:52 qualified him for the Boston Marathon.

The upcoming 2020 Boston Marathon is already at capacity for entrees, so Wiedeburg will have to wait until April of 2021 to get his chance at competing in the biggest race outside of the Olympics. But with patience and endurance being the key attributes to a successful marathon runner, the wait will be well worth it for Wiedeburg.

If you were in the Sidney area back in 2014 you might remember Wiedeburg, who was the lead runner on the Red Raider Cross Country team and was a key member of the Sidney Track Team that won a State Championship in 2015. If not, you probably do remember him as the recipient of one of the most selfless acts of sportsmanship over the last decade.

With a cross-country state title state in sight, an unusually warm late October day took it's toll on Wiedeburg and with only a little over a kilometer left in the five kilometer race, his legs gave out.

The shock of the crowd was obvious as one Nebraska's top runners struggled with exhaustion, but even more surprising was another runner, Kearney Catholic senior Liam Murphy, stopping in his tracks, picking up Wiedeburg, then completing the last 400 meters together with his exhausted competitor. Although Wiedeburg did not know Murphy personally, runners understand the camaraderie their sport fosters, and saw Murphy's selfless act as an example of the type of character long-distance running builds in student-athletes.

That's a story of a lifetime, but Wiedeburg is ready for more chapters in the book of his life, and qualifying for the Boston Marathon is another accomplishment achieved after years of hard work and sacrifice.

"I never saw myself running the Boston Marathon before, but after I finished racing collegiately I wanted to get into a higher-milage and longer distance races and started training last Spring," said Wiedeburg.

Wiedeburg's mother Donna is the head coach of the successful Sidney High Cross Country team, and has been an inspiration to him as an individual and as a runner. She was the assistant coach when he started running in 6th Grade.

"When I joined the team in 7th Grade, my love of running had been instilled in me by my mother and I fell in love with the sport and the confidence it gave me. Although I joined the sport because my mom was the coach, my love for the sport grew, and I finished my career knowing that I was a better individual specifically because of the things I learned through distance running."

Wiedeburg says that there are many similarities between a cross country race and a marathon both physically and mentally, but most of his training runs are done early in the morning. This is because he is currently a student-teacher in a first grade classroom, and with 18 six and seven year olds to handle during the day, he finds himself physically exhausted and in no shape to train after the school day.

The early morning runs are often cold and lonely, but provide him with a sense of determination, grit, and perseverance. He runs between eight and ten miles on weekday mornings, and 16 to 18 miles on Saturdays to prepare for marathons.

He also credits his teammates and coaches throughout the years that have pushed him to be the best runner possible and to develop as a well-rounded man. His family has supported his efforts, driving hundreds of miles to attend college races and always telling him how proud they are of his accomplishments. He also credits his newest sponsors, the Lincoln Running Club, for continuing to support his running career.

"Luckily for me, my time I ran in the Kansas marathon still qualifies me for the 2021 Boston Marathon, and as soon as they open up the applications to apply you better believe I'll be filling it out immediately!" he said.

For now, he will continue to train for the race, and continue to work on his professional goals. He majored in Elementary Education K-6, and his dream is to be an elementary school teacher.

"I plan on being a substitute teacher in the Kearney area for the spring semester of 2020, and after that semester of substitute teaching, I will hopefully find a full time position in the area. Aside from running and my faith, I have a passion for working with kids and seeing them succeed," he said.

With Wiedeburg's determination and perseverance, he should be heading up his own classroom in the very near future. And those young students will have the benefit of not only a teacher that wants to see them succeed, but also has the work ethic, patience and determination to know that developing children into outstanding adults is a long term commitment.

After all, education, like life, isn't a sprint. It is a marathon.


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