Kevin Kearns likened it to finishing among the top 16 at the Masters Tournament.
By completing Monday's Boston Marathon in less than 3 hours, 45 minutes, a benchmark for his age division, Kearns automatically qualifies for next year's race.
At 57, Kearns was back on the marathon scene for the first time since the 1985 New York Marathon.
He's not positive he'll race next year in Boston, but Kearns' said he is excited about the prospect.
"We're going to see," said Kearns. "I can't think of any reason why I wouldn't come back next year."
The day was a memorable one for Kearns, who had trouble coming up with any complaints about his first-ever Boston Marathon.
"Really, I couldn't have planned it to go better than it went," he said. "The weather was perfect -- absolutely perfect. ... It was quite an experience."
For Dr. Mike Rogers and his daughter, Alison Andrews, the first half of the 26.2-mile race progressed as they had hoped.
But both experienced cramping after the midpoint.
"We started out good, but sometimes you just have a day like that," Rogers said. "Five-hundred yards from the finish line, I had to stand there for 5 minutes. So I ran the last mile in 15 minutes. I can walk faster than that."
Rogers and Andrews are planning to return for next year's race. Qualifying times are good for two years, so they can return without qualifying again.
Reach Justin Williams at (706) 823-3304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.