WC native Moenck thrives at Boston Marathon
Former WCHS star distance runner places 399th out of more than 29,900 runners
WEBSTER CITY — It was late Monday evening and Nathan Moenck was having a hard time putting one foot in front of the other. His body was wrecked. But it was so worth it.
“My legs are just trashed,” Moenck, a 36-year-old Webster City native and 2000 graduate of Webster City High School, said. “If I have to go to the bathroom, I have to think about the pain I’m going to be in to walk to the toilet.”
That’s what happens in the hours after you run 26.2 miles. And not just run, but fly by marathon standards.
The latest individual with local ties to run in the Boston Marathon, Moenck — a member of arguably the first family of distance runners in Webster City lore — turned in an eye-popping time of 2 hours, 47 minutes, 21 seconds. He placed 399th in a field of 29,978 runners.
That’s a pace of 6:23 per mile. Think about that for a minute. Let the “wow” wash over you. We’ll wait.
And Moenck did it in some of the worst weather conditions for the marathon that began in 1897. The temperatures topped out in the low 40s. He ran straight into driving rain and winds in excess of 20 mph.
“There were pounding sheets of rain in our faces pretty much the whole day,” Moenck, a practicing attorney in Madison, Wis., said. “So I’m very pleased. I wanted to run a 2:46 or a 2:47, so with this crappy weather, I’m even more happy to go out and run like that.”
If anyone was conditioned to compete in those elements, it was Moenck. A star at WCHS, he was a four-year member of the Lynx cross country team and a contributing member to the 1998 state runner-up squad. As a senior in the spring of 2000, he took second place in the Class 3A 3,200-meter run at the state track and field meet. The conditions that day? Miserably cold and rainy.
“I guess that day helped prep me for almost 20 years later,” Moenck joked.
Moenck ran collegiately at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and then earned his law degree from the University of Iowa.
It was a recent job change that sparked Moenck’s interest in returning to the world of competitive running. He was an avid cross county skier, but getting back to his roots of long distance running added a layer to his life that he said was missing.
“At my old job, I worked a lot of hours and didn’t really run much at all for six years,” he said. “It wasn’t the best work-life balance. Running clears my mind. It makes me a better attorney, a better husband (to wife Emily) and a better father (to daughters Olivia, Natalie and Adeline).”
Moenck entered last June’s Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn., with the goal of qualifying for Boston, which is precisely what he did with a time of 2:54:56. A little friendly competition with his younger brother, Heath, an all-state runner at WCHS in his own right, didn’t hurt.
Heath, the head cross country coach at Simpson College in Indianola, finished in 3:06:39.
Score one for big bro.
“He was the spark that got me going and we talked trash back and forth,” Nathan said. “But I’d been working out more than he had.”
That performance set Moenck up for his shot at Boston, a marathon he says he’d love to do again.
“I like to compete and I like to suffer,” he said while chuckling. “It’s just fun to go out there and push yourself to the limits and put yourself in a body bag where you can’t walk for a week. So, yeah, I’d like to do it again. I can’t stop working out. I get crabby.”
That drive and determination were engrained in him growing up in Webster City. With influences like his parents, Gary and Linda Moenck, his older brother, Ryan, and former Lynx head cross country and track coach Tony Bussan, he was given the tools he needed.
And as Moenck crossed the finish line on Monday, a damp gold and purple Webster City jersey clung to his body.
“It was so important to me (to represent Webster City),” he said. “With Bussan being one of the premier hallmark coaches in the country … that’s where it all started. I have a lot of respect for where I come from. That’s shaped me into the runner I am, the competitor I try to be.”