It wasn’t his best performance ever, but getting to run in the famous Boston Marathon is something Ripley native Matt Bright will never forget. He’s hopeful of some day doing it again.
“The experience was great,” said Bright a former Ripley High cross country and track standout. “I really enjoyed the atmosphere.”
What he didn’t enjoy was the heat. “It was brutal,” said Bright, who lives in Morgantown. “There was a freak heat wave in the northeast. It was 90 degrees and that’s not ideal for running a marathon. I just didn’t do as well as I had hoped.”
Bright, who graduated from Ripley in 2004 before going on to compete as a runner at Davis & Elkins, just missed placing in the top 1,000 of the 116th edition of the historic event. Bright, who was one of 42 West Virginians to compete, finished at No. 1,030 in the race that had 26,641 entries. Bright’s time was 3:11.20.
White’s performance in the 2010 Pittsburgh Marathon earned him a spot in Boston. A male runner must run a marathon in three hours, 10 minutes to qualify for Boston, which Bright did easily by covering the Steel City course in 2:42.28. Pittsburgh was Bright’s second marathon. His first was the 2009 Toledo Marathon.
He noted that the heat took its toll on him in Boston. His Pittsburgh time allowed him to start near the front of the pack.
“There are some runners who are so far back that it takes them a couple of minutes just to cross the start line,” he explained.
After his days of running at Davis & Elkins Bright, who won Ripley’s Firecracker 2-Miler in 2010, went to WVU for his masters degree. He is now working for WVU Health Care as a decision support analyst.
Bright is still doing his share of running but an impending wedding has put any races in the future on hold. He will miss this year’s Firecracker event since his wedding is scheduled for just three days after the 4th of July.
His future wife is Hilary McConnell, a native of Preston County. McConnell ran on the collegiate level at Alderson-Broaddus College. The two got to know each other quite well during their running days.
The two, though, first met at D & E. McConnell, who is now in law school at WVU, came to Davis & Elkins for a visit and it was none other than Bright who gave her the tour of the Elkins-based campus. She opted for A-B over D & E.
Bright laughs that he must have not done a very good job of selling her on the school.
“I told our Coach back then that I didn’t think there was any chance she was going to come to school there (at D & E),” he said. “I told him I probably had a better shot at asking her to dinner.”
Page 2 of 2 - He most certainly did. And now years after being unable to convince Hilary McConnell to attend D & E, he did persuade her to become Mrs. Matt Bright.