On April 16th I raced in the 122nd Boston Marathon. This was the 16th time I have done the race and these were by far the most difficult conditions I’ve run a marathon in. The temperature in Hopkinton at race start was a raw 39 degrees and we had headwinds all the way into Boston of 20+ mph. And it rained. A lot. Every minute of the day.
It sounds horrible, but I was actually A-OK with it. We could see from the long range forecast that the weather was going to be brutal so that enabled me to wrap my head around it and actually get excited for an epic Boston. I figured if it is going to be sloppy, let it be real sloppy.
Our contingent consisted of my wife (Laurie Kearney) and the daughter (Megan) of my grade school friend Kent Yohe. This was going to be Laurie’s 22nd Boston and Megan’s 1st. All 3 of us were in the same start corral – wave 2, corral 2 – so our race started at 10:25am.
The toughest part of the day was the 90 minutes in Hopkinton after we got off the bus at the high school. Nearly 27,000 runners were left to mill around in the mud and rain. They did have some huge tents set up, but they were already packed with athletes. In desperation, we popped our heads in the Clif Bar tent which was basically 4 small pop up tents tethered together. The Clif tent had walls which was key because that kept the wind and rain out. This was the best decision we made all day. Within 30 minutes we were able to find seats. And I met a guy who gave me hand warmers to stick inside my gloves. Those hand warmers were a life saver!
I wore a record # of clothes for the entire race. I never tossed a single item. I actually wore 2 hats – a scull cap and a Clif Bar trucker hat I found in the tent. For my upper body I had a singlet, short sleeve tech shirt, long sleeve tech shirt, wind breaker and a plastic rain poncho. For my legs I had on compression sleeves, compression shorts, running shorts and tights. I was hardly aerodynamic, but I was warm enough. I actually was sweating by mile 2 and I really never overheated. I did make certain to drink a lot of fluids at most every aid station. Each time I thought about tossing the rain poncho it seemed to pour buckets and so by mile 8 I knew I would not be tossing anything.
Some of my favorite sights were the runners that had soap suds forming on their clothes. I guess some people need to leave their clothes in the rinse cycle a bit longer. And I saw some spectators wearing snorkels and dive masks. My favorite sight, though, was the water logged $5 bill I picked up at mile 5. I had hopes that there might be a $10 bill at mile 10 and a $20 bill at mile 20, but I must have missed them.
My finish time was 3:26:11 (7:52/mile). That is 11+ minutes slower than 2017 and I was in very similar condition. I placed 129th out of 1,455 men in the 55-59 age group. I placed 5,474th out of 14,142 men. And I placed 6,854th out of 25, 746 overall finishers, beating my bib # which was 9493. Finishing this Boston Marathon was a badge of honor so I’m very pleased with those results.
Laurie really had a great race. Much better than mine. She finished in 3:38:46 and placed 60th in her age group. This was Laurie’s 252nd marathon finish. She is such a strong runner and I could not be more proud of her. And Megan had a great race, too. She ran 3:18:50, beating us both and showing the old timers how it’s done. Pretty good for her 3rd career marathon!
Desi Linden was the first American to win the women’s race in 33 years. Desi’s winning time of 2:39:54 was 17 minutes slower than her 2nd place finish in 2011. That speaks volumes as to how hard the day was. It was a day for grinders.
Click on the link below to see my race photos.
The day after the race, Laurie and I headed in opposite directions. Laurie went to New York to visit her family and I went to Chicago to visit mine. I had a great time seeing my Mom, my 2 sisters – Cindy and Debbie. In addition, I shared meals with my grade school buddy, Bruce McNair and my fraternity buddy, Dave Dungan. While staying with my Mom, a man from Faith Lutheran Church stopped by to give us both communion. I was aware that they do this every month for Mom, but it really warmed my heart to share the experience with my Mom.
Living the life…