The Boston Marathon – a beautiful experience, with love, unity and determination brimming over from the athletes, volunteers and spectators. It was a race of celebration, as 36,000 runners set out from Hopkinton on April 21st to run the 42.2km to the finish line in downtown Boston.
The weather was glorious and new records were set. Meb Keflezighi won the Marathon, the first American man to win in 31 years, in a time of 2:08:37! Rita Jeptoo won the women’s race for her third time and set a new course record in a time of 2:18:57.
There was a great positive spirit at the Marathon. Heightened security measures did not get any of us down. We just adapted and even had some fun in the end. For example, no bags were allowed out to the athletes village, which meant runners were bundled with all their throw-away clothing, looking like hobos rather than lean running machines. I wore a pair of gorgeous white men’s medium-sized track pants that Joe Zack had passed on to me. It went well with the very worn U of Toronto sweatshirt – a men’s large – that James Glover donated to the cause. I felt like a marshmallow and definitely did not look like a marathon runner.
The race started at 10am. After shedding my warm-up garb, I felt great as I set out from Hopkinton in the first wave. The weather was ideal and the downhill start carried me away. I got a bit too carried away in fact, going quicker than my target marathon pace of 4:15. My first 5km was just over 20min – too quick. But at this point I felt great and thought, “maybe I can hang on to this pace and get a PB!” My thoughts of just breaking 3 hours were replaced with dreams of a personal best… perhaps not a good plan at Boston, which has a much more difficult second half. As the temperature rose steadily, I was thirsty by the second half and gulped down water. The onset of cramps forced me to stop at a porta-potty at around mile 16, where I was grateful there was only a short line-up so I only lost about sixty seconds. But now things were getting tough. My thoughts were changing and my watch was not giving me the numbers I wanted. Now I started thinking, “Just keep going, get up those hills, and do NOT walk”. I saw many people walking, and I was slowing, but I got up the hills fine and then just kept my legs moving. My last two kilometers were the slowest of my race; thankfully they were still under 5min per km pace. My final time was 3:06:48. I did not achieve my goal of breaking three hours. A marathon is a special race; some days everything works out perfectly and you celebrate a personal best. Some days, determination and sheer will gets you through it. The satisfaction comes from completing the race and in having persevered.
I had a great time running and I loved the whole Boston Experience. I have many people to thank for getting me to Boston and showering me with love and support. My family cheered me on at mile 17. I was so pleased to see them! I have my training buddies – Dave Smith, Karen Natho and Scott Stevens – to thank for all those training runs we did together in the early mornings and long runs on the weekends. James and Mary Glover hosted us in their home, just outside of Boston for several days over the Marathon weekend. Friends insisted that this, my third Boston, I needed to finally purchase the race jacket and they all donated to the cause. Thank you to everyone for their well wishes and support. Thank you for joining in the fun of the Boston Marathon.