123rd Boston Marathon

April 15, 2019

My First Boston was a Runner's Dream!


Cindy Hinton

Iuka, Mississippi

Age 55, 3:51:15

Bib #24003

Me, a runner? Never ever in my wildest dreams did I think this would be me. Who knew? Yet here I am. A runner. It’s one of my greatest passions. 

My journey started in 2009 when my husband suggested we start trying to run a little and enter a local 5k. I think we ran two or three 5ks that year. The following summer I decided to work towards doing well in another 5k in the fall. To my surprise, I came in second overall female. I was hooked! 

Totally in jest, back in those early days I remember joking one day I’d run Boston. At that time, I had no idea people ran outside all year long in brutally hot and cold conditions, let alone getting up in the dark to do so. 

In 2011, I ran several more 5ks, my second 10k, and, after seeking the advice of our local running legend Kenneth Williams (often referred to as “Koach”), training and running my first half marathon. 

Lunatic Fringe on 350
Getting started with the help of the Fringe.

I started running with Koach’s local “hard  core” group, who earned their nickname as the Lunatic Fringe running weekly on a notorious stretch of MS Highway 350, lovingly referred to as the “Alps of Mississippi.”

The first time I ran 15 miles with this crew, I finally felt I had arrived as a real runner! 

As time rocked on, I decided it was time to attempt a marathon. In January 2014, I ran my first, the Louisiana Marathon. After three more marathons, I returned to this Louisiana race for a successful BQ attempt. Later in the year I bettered my time, BQing at the Midsouth Marathon. 

At the Boston Marathon starting line on Saturday before.
With a member of Hopkinton's finest.

Finally, the Boston Marathon weekend arrived. Every second of the journey to get here was worth every mile I ran. It is truly magical! 

On Saturday, we took the train to Hopkinton to see everything at the start and to run the first three miles of the race course. We celebrated at Dunkin Donuts, conveniently located at the exact end of that final shakeout run. 

That evening, Koach Williams invited my husband and me to his annual pre-race get-together of runners from northern Mississippi and Alabama. Guest of honor was Lunatic Fringe founding member John Aiken (aka Bigfoot, for his shoe size). Boston 2019 marked Bigfoot’s 100th marathon, so there was much to celebrate.

On Sunday, we attended the annual blessing of the runners at Old South Church and then went for some major carb loading with friends.

Cindy Hinton and John Aiken walk to the start of the 2019 Boston Marathon
Walking with Big Foot from Athletes Village.

Race day arrived and I met our friend Bigfoot to catch the yellow bus to Hopkinton!

I am always sick with nerves before any race. By some miracle I arrived at the start line calm, cool, and collected. I still wasn’t believing I was actually there!

My thought was I was going to run as fast as I could, for as long as I could, and then hold as fast a pace as possible [knowing our friend Woody Harrell back in Mississippi, who first ran the race in 1973 would be yelling “No, no, no!!” if I had shared my strategy].

Cindy Hinton 2019
Mile 17, before the Newton Fire House turn.

I soaked in everything along the crowd-packed course, ticking off every town in my mental map as they passed by for real. The rush was unbelievable, and time flew by! I was looking for my husband, who caught the Green Line out to the 17 Mile Mark, just before the Newton Fire Station turn. About the time I’d decided I wasn’t going to see him, there he was! I got my quick kiss on the run, then came those Newton Hills, culminating at Heartbreak Hill. Luckily, I made that series of climbs (and smaller descents) without a problem. A few more miles and at last the CITGO sign came into view. I geared up for my long anticipated “right on Hereford, left on Boylston” combination turns.

Running down the final stretch, my thoughts were on both the 2013 bombing victims and on what I was about to accomplish: That feeling is indescribable.

Yes, there it is! There is the Boston Marathon finish line and I’m about to cross it! I ran a Boston Qualifier and a PR at my first Boston Marathon in 3:51:15!

Wearing my celebration jacket for the first time I felt like I was a rock star! Putting on that jacket months later still makes me feel the same way.

There are not enough words in my vocabulary to explain my Boston emotions; and that’s leaving out 100 million thoughts and feelings of this special time in my life. The friends I’ve made along the way; the support and encouragement of those friends, plus my family and especially my wonderful husband, Brent: there is no way I’d have been able to say I’m a Boston Marathoner without them!

The entire race weekend was unforgettable and I will forever cherish each and every memory. I truly wish every runner could experience this event!

"Running down the final stretch...
that feeling is indescribable!"