The 119th Boston Athletic Associations Marathon took place on a day that felt much like the past few months have – cold, damp and windy. As we stood on the sidewalk shivering, it was hard to believe the amazing turnout that the marathon had regardless of the rain. If the winter weather didnt stop the participants from training, there was no way the weather on Marathon Monday would stop them from completing the race for which they had trained so hard.
No question that the crowds along the route are as much as part of the race as the runners. The extraordinary sense of community that embraces the runners as well as their stories is unmatched. Here are three examples:
Our local friend, Sally Reiley, completed the marathon with an amazing time of 3:36:13, and raised over $20,000 for eye research at Mass Eye and Ear. We were lucky enough to speak to her after the race.
“It was the cold, the rain, and the headwinds that beat me up in the end, not the course. I was feeling great and on pace for a personal record finish until the last two or three miles. My hands were so numb: I could not grab a water or Gatorade or open a gel packet, even though I know I needed it. I made it across the finish line and was so appreciative of the volunteer who wrapped me in a foil blanket! At that point, I said never again would I run a marathon, but by the next day, I had already resolved to do it again and finish on a stronger note, I feel good now, just sore in the calf muscle.”
“The crowds on Monday were obviously lesser than last year, but kudos to those who were out there in the rain and the cold all day cheering on the runners. I couldn’t have done it without their encouragement. I raised over $20,000 for research at Mass Eye and Ear, and donations are still coming in (I have until May 15). So despite the miserable weather on Monday when no one in their right mind would be doing anything outdoors, it was a tremendously positive experience. Boston at its finest.”
As always, with The Boston Marathon, there are many inspirational stories. One in particular comes from Team Hoyt, a well-known marathon team made up of father and son Dick and Rick Hoyt, and their many supportive family members and friends. Rick Hoyt was born with cerebral palsy in 1962. His father has participated in over 1,000 different races since 1977 pushing his handicapped son. He and Rick competed in 32 Boston Marathons, until 2015, when Dick, 74-year-old, retired from marathon running. This year, Bryan Lyons, a member of Team Hoyt since 2009, took over the job of pushing Rick. Although Dick could not run the marathon with his son, he was waiting at the finish line with a smile on his face when Rick and Bryan arrived.
The last man to finish the Boston Marathon, Maickel Melamed of Venezuela, brought another inspirational story of overcoming obstacles. Maickel has a rare muscle condition that makes walking and moving around difficult. It took him nearly 20 hours, but Maickel completed the race early on Tuesday morning at 5 a.m. Maickel received a marathon medal from Mayor Marty Walsh shortly after on Tuesday.
These are just three stories from this week’s marathon. It seems like each year, there are more stories of individuals overcoming obstacles, and theres no better city to do it in than Boston.
We are still proud to be #Boston Strong and don’t see that changing any time soon.