Keith Pierce may have started as a middle-distance runner—he ran 3:46 for the 1,500 as a track man at Rice University—but there’s no doubt that he’s found his true home in the marathon. Pierce, 41 has seven victories at the 26.2-mile distance to his credit:
- Dallas 2017- 2:27:16
- Dallas 2016- 2:29:27
- Austin 2011- 2:29:25
- Austin 2010- 2:20:35
- Cowtown 2009- 2:25:13
- Cowtown 2008- 2:34:45
- Cowtown 2007- 2:30:23
Ten years ago, Pierce was teaching at Vandegrift High School in north Austin, where he also coached, lifting the track and cross-country teams to new heights. The father of triplets now teaches AP human geography at McKinney Boyd High School just outside of Dallas, where he’s the head boys and girls cross-country and track coach.
“McKinney Boyd is a great community—we have really good kids,” said Pierce, who has taught there for the past five years. “This is my fifth year here. We’ve had a really good run. Last year my girls’ team was district champs—the first time since 2010. We’re hoping our boys team will win a district title this year. We’ve had a team make it to regionals and at least one individual make it to state for the last four years.
Pierce is a hands-on coach, regularly running with his teams. “I always feel like when I’m out there with them, experiencing what they’re going through, it’s something I really enjoy and know the kids enjoy,” he said.
“The last marathon I ran was in Dallas in 2018—I ran a 2:34 and came in sixth. I figured maybe that was it. I was content with my record,” said Pierce, looking at his own running.
But last spring, Pierce started running with his old friend Karl Huchthausen, also 41, and that re-kindled the marathon flame.
“I had been running to stay fit—I’d run easy runs with my teams,” said Pierce. “But my 2018 Dallas time was a Boston qualifier. So when Karl came up with the idea of running Boston last spring, I decided to ramp up my mileage and get in marathon shape. One of the things that made me want to run Boston again was that they moved it to October.” (October 11 to be exact). “So I was able to get up to 60-70 miles a week training during the summer.”
Now that he’s back teaching in school, Pierce is holding steady at about 50 miles a week.
Pierce got in a couple of 20 milers in the heat during the summer, and the last two weeks, ran 21 and 22 miles at around 6:40 pace.
“It felt really good. When you finish a long run and feel like you could go a few more miles at that pace, that’s always a good sign,” he said. “I know at Boston, when I have that adrenaline going out on the course, the slightly faster pace won’t feel too bad. I’m hoping for good weather. I don’t have a time goal. I don’t want to go into it with that pressure on myself. It’s more about the experience and competing with my training partners, maybe beating them. I think if I do that, I’ll feel good about my race, and it will give me a benchmark. I just want to enjoy Boston and competing again.”