Freeland man proves he’s more than ‘also ran’

Last month, Bill Brewer ran the longest race he’d competed in since he was a collegiate cross country runner.

The 65-year-old Freeland man recently finished in second place in his age division at the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, June 21, more than four decades since his last competition. Brewer finished the 13.1-mile half marathon in 1:53.39, almost seven minutes ahead of the second 65-to-69-year-old man. In the age division, there were 56 men.

As a college student, Brewer ran cross country at Oregon State University, where he described himself as an “also ran,” a runner who does not normally place in the top 10 or vie for medals.

“I have not run a race in 46 years, so it was very invigorating for me,” he said.

One thing that separates Brewer from the competition is that he has type 1 diabetes and is insulin dependent. But he has not let his medical condition define or limit who he is as a husband and father who works as a radiology technician at Swedish Hospital in Edmonds.

“I don’t think of it as a disability,” he said.

In fact, Brewer said, running has been an asset to him as he manages the condition. He runs between 15 and 20 miles each week, often around his home of nearly nine years near Holmes Harbor Golf Course.

Still, with his competitive nature, Brewer said he looked up past results of men his age to get an idea of their times. It was encouraging for him to see he could be a top finisher, based on his mile split times at home.

A bit of sour news awaited him after the race. Someone had stolen his insulin bag and some other belongings as he ran around Seattle. That did little to dampen his mood after crossing the finish line, however.

“It was really gratifying when I got to the finish line, I heard this loudspeaker say, ‘Here comes Bill Brewer from Freeland, and he’s 65,’ “ he said. “That was a special moment I’ll always remember.”

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