DANSVILLE — Running is a sport stripped down to its purest form.


Peter Thompson of Dansville recently came in sixth place at the Rochester Marathon. John Schnitter of Dansville won first place. Dansville Central Physical Education teacher Elissa Gielen won first place in her age group during the half marathon.


The Rochester Marathon is a 26.2 mile run, and it takes a lot of heart to accomplish.


Thompson talked with Genesee Country Express about his experience on that run.


“That was my first marathon and I came in sixth place,” he said. “I have won 5K races in Dansville before, but nothing like this.”


Thompson said that it takes a lot of training and preparation to be able to run a marathon, and there are some people who have a made this their life’s passion.


“I wasn’t a runner in school,” he said. “I just got into running a few years ago. I won the Clara Barton Day 5K and the Jingle Bells 5K in Dansville.”


Thompson said he would do the Rochester Marathon again. He encourages others to get involved in this sport.


“I would say make sure you put in the time to train at least six months before you try to do a marathon,” he said. “You need to be healthy and be in good shape to do that kind of run. It is physically and mentally exhausting.”


Thompson enjoys running and looks into all the places that offer these kinds of opportunities around him.


“I just run for the enjoyment of it,” he said. “I am not part of any team. I do a lot of the training alone.”


Thompson said he meets up behind Tony’s Pizzeria at 7:30 a.m. every Saturday with a group of other passionate runners. He thanks them all for being such a great support group. Many of these people have done other impressive things such as Highlander Cycle Tours, IRONMAN Triathlon, and other marathons.


“It is really awarding to accomplish my first marathon,” Thompson said. “You just need to take good care of your body. Taking care of your health is rewarding enough. I think everyone can do this.”


Thompson said people need to be willing to put in the hard work to do these kinds of races.


“It is nice to appreciate people in our community that are doing things like this,” he said. “I feel good seeing all of the great things people accomplish. There are a few unique guys in our community that do these kinds of marathons.”


Thompson said he is impressed by the men in their 50s and 60s that are doing things like the Highlander or IRONMAN.


“Our community has really great people in it,” he said. “We are always open to people joining us on Saturday morning. We have a lot of fun doing this together; even though we all have different strengths. This is where I get my inspiration and drive to keep going.”


Thompson thanks his running group, family, wife, and friends for all of the support over the years.


“I just want to encourage people to get out there,” he said. “It is nice to see a small town go the extra mile.”