When the lights go down at the Boch Center Wang Theater in Boston on April 15, Bob Dimmig could be the most nervous person in the audience.
While many people will be preparing simply to watch the documentary, "Boston - An American Running Story," Dimmig finally will find out if he's actually in the movie.
"I am ready," he said about the end of what has been a three-year wait.
The story of Dimmig’s involvement starts in Feb. 2014 with a letter from the production company working on the documentary to a member of the Checkers Athletic Club, who forwarded the message to Dimmig. The film group was looking for stories about the Boston Marathon’s long history.
"I thought I had something unique to offer," Dimmig said. "I went to school in Boston, worked at the finish line in 1980, and more than 30 years later qualified twice as a runner.
"I also was a strong advocate of the 'Spirit of the Marathon' movies, which was produced by the same group as this one. I never would have finished the training cycle for my first marathon without it. I had done a Google search for marathon inspiration and found it."
Dimmig sent in the information, and was surprised to hear from a field producer. Dimmig was asked if he was coming to Boston for the 2014 race, which he was. He wanted to support those who were running a year after the bombing incident.
"I had gone in 2012," he said. "That was the race when the day before, runners were offered a chance to defer their run a year because of the high temperatures. I finished it in around 4 hours and 10 minutes, about the same as 2011."
Dimmig had spent the 2013 event at his desk, tracking his friends from Checkers in the race and watching the live feed. Then he heard about the bombing.
"Everybody had different reactions to it," Dimmig said. "I considered Boston to be my city. I had family there. I sort of came of age there. My brother was waiting for me in 2012 in front of the mailbox that was blown up. I thought I didn't know what I'd do, but I had to be there."
That all sounded interesting to the producers, and they set up a date and time for an interview. The place was an iconic spot for Boston Marathon runners - the Johnny Kelley statue at mile 19 in Newton.
"There was a small crew - stage manager, camera and sound. I don't know who looked at it at their end," Dimmig said. "It was a great experience, great to be miked up."
Then the waiting started. The world of independent filmmaking is all about raising money, and that can take time. Dimmig made a connection that way with the director, Jon Dunham.
"I work in economic development, and I tried to connect him to some funding through a couple of businesses that are connected to Boston," the local runner said. "I don't know if they got together.
"Later on, John was literally driving the film from Boston to California. He called me and said he would be passing through the area, and he'd never seen Niagara Falls. I met him at the Marriott, and told him to to follow me. We went up to Table Rock, and spent a couple of hours there. He's a runner first, and a film producer second. He could fit in for a long run at Chestnut Ridge."
The wait went on and on. Dimmig is startled when he looks back on what's happened to his life over that time. He lost his job due to budget cuts, went back to college, and downsized a home. Dimmig has two arthritic hips, so his serious running days now seem over.
Finally, the date of the premiere in Boston was set for April 15, and Dimmig is going. The catch is that he doesn't know if he made the cut to appear in the movie, which runs 2 hours and 20 minutes. Dimmig didn't ask Dunham about it.
"I never wanted to abuse the friendship," he said. "It could be a brief flash. But everything considered, I have to be in the theater that night. The Boston Symphony is performing the score live. Matt Damon narrated the film. I'll never get to see another world premiere."
The movie then will be shown across the country on April 19. The Elmwood Regal Center in Buffalo and the Transit Center 18 in Williamsville will present the documentary at 7:30 p.m.. Tickets can be purchased in advance at fathomevents.com.
Dimmig takes a little kidding about the experience quite well, laughing when asked if he has any film projects with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington "in development." He's also willing to say that if he does turn up in the movie, all of his relatives and friends probably will receive a DVD version at the holidays. But the concept of appearing in the film itself is worth some serious dreaming.
"Just the thought of it - a typical mention in the credits - would be exciting," Dimmig said. "To have my name associated with this would be fabulous."
* Bunny Hop, 5K, 1 Legion Dr., East Aurora, 10:30 a.m. Saturday April 15, 866-0136.
* UB Run for Smiles, 5K, 3435 Main St., Buffalo, 10 a.m. Saturday April 22, 807-6925,
* Run Forest Run 5K, 250 North Forest Ave., Williamsville, 10 a.m. Saturday April 22, (617) 818-1345.
* Tortoise and the Hare, 5K, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, 10 a.m. Saturday April 22, 597-8403.
* Envirun 5K, Whirlpool State Park, Niagara Falls, 10:30 a.m. Saturday April 22
* Run for Wayne, 3.17 miles, 324 East Ave., Albion, 12:01 p.m. Saturday April 22, (585) 590-0955.
* BuffaloRunners 6-Hour Distance Classic, 6-hour run, 1615 Amherst Manor Dr., Amherst, 8 a.m.. Sunday April 23.
* Canisius College Shoes for the Shelter, 5K, 1833 Main St., Buffalo, 10 a.m. Sunday April 23, 888-2977.