Springfield-area businessman Brian Hammons on April 16 competed in the 122nd annual Boston Marathon.
Hammons, president of Stockton-based Hammons Products Co., has competed in nearly 40 marathons since 1986. This was his 12th Boston Marathon, he said.
Twenty years ago, his then 8-year-old son Adam competed in his first race, the Jingle Bell Run in Springfield. That’s when they made a pact to run the Boston Marathon in 2018. His daughter April Golden also joined in.
“It’s just a real blessing to be able to run this event with them,” Hammons said.
Hammons started competitive running to stay in shape, noting he kept with it for the challenge and camaraderie. He’s now proud to share the experience with his kids, but mostly, he said, he’s just thankful he finished this marathon.
“It was brutal, one of the worst I ever experienced,” he said. “There’s a blowing wind in our face the whole way. I did experience a little hypothermia. I was just thankful to finish it.”
Hammons’ official time was 4:18:45, ranking him No. 19,043 overall.
At least nine Springfieldians also ran in Monday’s Boston Marathon, according to the Boston Athletic Association. Below are participants from Springfield and their finishing times:
• Kimi Reed, 2:46:47, eighth in women’s division;
• Marshall Reed, 2:52:49;
• Derek Lee, 2:54:08;
• Nathaniel Hay, 2:57:21;
• Amy Robbins, 3:40:44;
• Rod Matthewson, 3:48:26;
• Christopher Wilbers, 3:49:06;
• Megan Brockman, 4:09:10; and
• Lali Handwerker, 4:45:59.
In the business realm, Hammons said his Hammons Products Co. processed 31 million pounds of black walnuts in 2017. He declined to disclose the company’s 2017 revenue, but said production exceeded the goal of 25-30 million pounds of black walnuts.
Hammons said black walnuts are wild, and production varies year to year. Last year, 50 percent of Hammons Products’ crop came from Missouri, though it’s typically around 65 percent.
“We’ve had a couple of short years in terms of the total crop and wasn’t able to keep the plant going all year long,” Hammons said.
With the yield this year collected from 238 buying stations across 15 states, Hammons said he anticipates the plant to be open and processing year-round through 2019.
The company has been family owned and operated for more than 70 years.
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