Boston Marathon Stories

Our purpose is to gather stories about what makes running Boston such a special experience: race memories written by participants themselves. We hope BostonLog serves as both an archive and an inspiration…

I got a bit emotional as I realized these people didn’t know me, but were cheering for me anyway. – Renee Neufeld (April 19, 2010)

Posted by on Jun 18, 2016 in 2010, F 18 - 34, Neufeld - Renee, South Dakota | Comments Off on I got a bit emotional as I realized these people didn’t know me, but were cheering for me anyway. – Renee Neufeld (April 19, 2010)

I got a bit emotional as I realized these people didn’t know me, but were cheering for me anyway. – Renee Neufeld (April 19, 2010)

My first attempt to train and qualify for Boston came in 2004 with the Chicago Marathon. I was training really well, and then while playing a large group game at camp, I did an unintentional back flip. Afterwards my knee wasn’t the same, but I decided to run the marathon anyway. I came so close to qualifying, but I forgot to figure in the final 2/10 mile. I finished with a 3:41:22, 23 seconds short of qualifying. I decided it was God’s way of telling me I should get my knee checked out. The resulting appointment led me to knee surgery for...

read more

Thirsty and sweating before we even began. – Staci Dietzel (April 18, 2016)

Posted by on Jun 8, 2016 in 2016, Dietzel - Staci, F 40 - 44, Michigan | Comments Off on Thirsty and sweating before we even began. – Staci Dietzel (April 18, 2016)

Thirsty and sweating before we even began. – Staci Dietzel (April 18, 2016)

2016 was my fifth consecutive Boston Marathon. Despite a training season peppered with injury, and being only one week post-flu, I was excited to be in Boston and felt ready to run. The celebration of the 50th Anniversary of women in the Boston Marathon along with the 120th Anniversary year made this year feel extra special. I was traveling alone. My family came along in 2012, but I typically travel on my own to destination races due to their busy schedules. I had plans to meet up with a friend I had met at the Tokyo Marathon, and a Sunday...

read more

Coming to race, not just have fun– Keara McGraw (April 18, 2016)

Posted by on Jun 7, 2016 in 2016, F 30 - 35, Florida, McGraw - Keara | Comments Off on Coming to race, not just have fun– Keara McGraw (April 18, 2016)

Coming to race, not just have fun– Keara McGraw (April 18, 2016)

I can’t say enough good things about Boston. The city, the people, the race. Everything. Even if you’re not a diehard runner, it’s hard not to fall in love with the Boston Marathon. I think sometimes the money aspect of it tends to cloud my judgement of how much I love it, because it’s seriously an expensive weekend to drag yourself through 26 miles. But with two finishes in two years I proclaim Boston to be well worth it! Going into this one, many folks including myself were stalking the weather forecast. There was a...

read more

Three hours in the company of Angels – Anita Harless (April 18, 2011)

Posted by on Jun 1, 2016 in 2011, F 35 - 39, Harless - Anita, Michigan | Comments Off on Three hours in the company of Angels – Anita Harless (April 18, 2011)

Three hours in the company of Angels – Anita Harless (April 18, 2011)

For several days after running the Boston Marathon, my emotions were still high, but nothing like the morning waking up to that day. I was overpowered by intense emotion when I woke up on Monday, Patriots’ Day. I was struggling to keep my focus being bound by all these extreme and binding feelings. Some of the emotions I am able to sift through, read like this: NERVOUSNESS: Gotta be on time. Do I have everything? Did I get enough to drink? Should I wear the brand new shorts or the old Capri’s? Should I eat more? Drink more? Drink...

read more

For the rest of my earthly life I can say I am a Boston Marathon finisher – Kathy Wheeler (April 20, 2015)

Posted by on Apr 24, 2016 in 2015, Arkansas, F 40 - 44, Wheeler - Kathy | Comments Off on For the rest of my earthly life I can say I am a Boston Marathon finisher – Kathy Wheeler (April 20, 2015)

For the rest of my earthly life I can say I am a Boston Marathon finisher – Kathy Wheeler (April 20, 2015)

After six months of fundraising and training, the time finally arrived to make my way to the Bay State to run the 119th Boston Marathon. Training for this marathon wasn’t easy. I fought a tight hamstring the whole training period and was worried how it would feel the day of the race. Would I be able to run? Would I have to walk more than I wanted? But I kept telling myself I am running this race in memory of my Dad and he went through a lot with his liver transplants and didn’t let them stand in the way of his running. So, I...

read more

One of the most surreal and satisfying days of my life – Dan Mullen (April 18, 2016)

Posted by on Apr 24, 2016 in 2016, M 40 - 44, Mississippi, Mullen - Dan | Comments Off on One of the most surreal and satisfying days of my life – Dan Mullen (April 18, 2016)

One of the most surreal and satisfying days of my life – Dan Mullen (April 18, 2016)

Imagine your first round of golf being at Augusta National, experiencing your first horse race at Churchill Downs or entering a stadium the first time at the Olympics. Then imagine actually taking part in the Masters, Kentucky Derby or Olympic Opening Ceremonies. That’s what it felt like for me to run the Boston Marathon on Patriots Day 2016. I’d never even run so much as a neighborhood 5K in my life. The first time I’d ever picked up a bib number was at the Hynes Convention Center on Sunday evening. And after I willed myself...

read more

My Personalized Motivational Sign Proved to be Textbook – Kevin McGuire (April 15, 2002)

Posted by on Apr 7, 2016 in 2002, M 35 - 39, McGuire - Kevin, North Carolina | Comments Off on My Personalized Motivational Sign Proved to be Textbook – Kevin McGuire (April 15, 2002)

My Personalized Motivational Sign Proved to be Textbook – Kevin McGuire (April 15, 2002)

The Boston Marathon is perhaps the definitive destination for distance runners. With its tough qualifying requirements, it is the goal to which countless runners aspire. As The Ultimate Guide to Marathons describes it, Boston is “the Mother of all Marathons, running’s best friend,” which “stands as the benchmark by which all other marathons are measured.” It is “unchallenged as the world’s oldest and most prestigious annual marathon.” I first ran Boston in 2001. A year later, I sought to document some of the race’s special...

read more

In a “my legs are tired” way, not in a “I might die, need to walk, or maybe vomit” kind of way – Kara Bonneau (April 15, 2013)

Posted by on Apr 6, 2016 in 2013, Bonneau - Kara, F 18 - 34, North Carolina | Comments Off on In a “my legs are tired” way, not in a “I might die, need to walk, or maybe vomit” kind of way – Kara Bonneau (April 15, 2013)

In a “my legs are tired” way, not in a “I might die, need to walk, or maybe vomit” kind of way – Kara Bonneau (April 15, 2013)

Wow. Well, obviously the aftermath brought a lot more emotions and many things to process far more important than the actual race. Things I never dreamed I’d be considering when recording my first Boston experience. But her I want to focus on the good and the positive that came before… My husband Monte and I flew into Boston on Saturday afternoon. After a great carb loading pasta dinner with friends, we drove out to our hotel in Milford, which is only about 15 minutes from Hopkinton. Sunday we drove out to the start and though to that...

read more

Exercising My Soul as a Boston Marathon Guide for the Visually Impaired – Vincent Hau (April 20, 2015)

Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 in 2015, California, Hau - Vincent, M 35 - 39, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Exercising My Soul as a Boston Marathon Guide for the Visually Impaired – Vincent Hau (April 20, 2015)

Exercising My Soul as a Boston Marathon Guide for the Visually Impaired – Vincent Hau (April 20, 2015)

Like most avid marathon runners, I’ve always dreamed of running the most prestigious marathon race in the world: the Boston Marathon. I first qualified when I was a medical student nearly eleven years ago, but was afraid of requesting time off from my third-year clinical rotations to run it. For the following ten years I’ve always regretted never asking. Since joining Kaiser Permanente, an institution that values an employee’s health and well-being via a strong work-life balance, I’ve been able to achieve qualifying for the Boston...

read more

Homeless In Hopkinton – Greg Hall (April 15, 2013)

Posted by on Mar 9, 2016 in 2013, Hall - Greg, M 55 - 59, Missouri | Comments Off on Homeless In Hopkinton – Greg Hall (April 15, 2013)

Homeless In Hopkinton – Greg Hall (April 15, 2013)

The first person I spoke to from Hopkinton, Massachusetts the eve of the Boston Marathon was a cop. My good friend and running mate, Greg Heilers, had just dropped me off at the corner of Main and Grove Street in Hopkinton at about 6:30 PM. As I opened the passenger door to his rental Kia, Heilers asked me one last time the same question he had asked a dozen times that day. “Are you sure about this?” he repeated. It was my grand plan to stay in HopTown, the place where the Boston Marathon begins each Patriots Day, the night before the race...

read more

Drawing Life-long Strength from Boston – Kent Berry (April 16, 1973)

Posted by on Mar 8, 2016 in 1973, Berry - Kent, M 18 - 34, Texas | Comments Off on Drawing Life-long Strength from Boston – Kent Berry (April 16, 1973)

Drawing Life-long Strength from Boston – Kent Berry (April 16, 1973)

As I recollect my memories of the Boston Marathon and how I came to run it, it is much like writing my own obituary, because it rises to the top, like the perfect foam on a Guinness beer. That is to say, with great joy, comfort and humor, this race helped shape the person I became. My experience running Boston has played an enduring role through both the difficult times and the brilliant times of celebration. My personal story includes my parents getting a divorce, which left me without a support system. So in my senior year of high school, I...

read more

My legs were boycotting and there really wasn’t anything I could do about it. – Jennifer Poore (April 21, 2014)

Posted by on Feb 7, 2016 in 2014, F 18 - 34, Illinois, Poore - Jenny | Comments Off on My legs were boycotting and there really wasn’t anything I could do about it. – Jennifer Poore (April 21, 2014)

My legs were boycotting and there really wasn’t anything I could do about it. – Jennifer Poore (April 21, 2014)

No one likes to write a race report about a race that didn’t go well. I questioned putting these thoughts out there, but I know eventually I’ll be glad I did. It will be good to look back on it in the future–hopefully when a race goes “right.” The first few days after the marathon, I didn’t really feel like reliving each mile of 26.2. And then I thought, “Well, this year should be much easier to write than last year.” (Biggest understatement ever. It’s clear this recap was easier to write for different reasons.) Like many, I...

read more

In a Photo Finish with Selfie-Guy – Una Beaudry (April 20, 2015)

Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 in 2015, Beaudry - Una, Canada, F 45 - 49 | Comments Off on In a Photo Finish with Selfie-Guy – Una Beaudry (April 20, 2015)

In a Photo Finish with Selfie-Guy – Una Beaudry (April 20, 2015)

It took me a long time to complete this story. Partly because of finding the time to write it. Partly because I wasn’t ready to let it go, and putting it down “on paper” seemed to make it final. My first time in Boston! What a beautiful city! Steve and I drove from Ottawa, and daughter Katie took the train from NYC to cheer me on. [Writing this, I’m starting to get emotional already. Sheesh.] Steve and I made our way to the expo and start to soak it in. Oh. My. God. I can’t believe I was at race kit pick up for THE BOSTON MARATHON....

read more

The Sound of Music meets a scene from the Terminator – Laura Frey (April 21, 2014)

Posted by on Feb 3, 2016 in 2014, F 40 - 44, Frey - Laura, North Carolina | Comments Off on The Sound of Music meets a scene from the Terminator – Laura Frey (April 21, 2014)

The Sound of Music meets a scene from the Terminator – Laura Frey (April 21, 2014)

I don’t even know where to start! Boston 2014 was quite possibly the most amazing display of humanity ever. Boston pumped love, perseverance, support, and empathy; every second, all weekend. I have never in my life experienced this type of non-stop caring and selflessness from every single person I bumped into during my entire trip. Everyone wanted to help make the next person smile. It was contagious. It is one thing to read about it or hear it on the news, but the experience was simply amazing. Beyond words, but I will try. I left home...

read more

Finally, a BQ at Boston – Megan Kretz (April 21, 2014)

Posted by on Jan 31, 2016 in 2014, F 18 - 34, Kretz - Megan, New York | Comments Off on Finally, a BQ at Boston – Megan Kretz (April 21, 2014)

Finally, a BQ at Boston – Megan Kretz (April 21, 2014)

Brian and I hit the road early Sunday morning for the 3.5 hour drive to Boston. The drive was uneventful, and before long we were checking in to the hotel and making our way to the expo by 11:00am. The expo itself was a madhouse. There were so many people crammed into the space it was difficult to really see anything. Nevertheless, I picked up my bib, bought a 2014 Boston Marathon jacket, and quickly said hello to some fellow Central Park Track Club teammates, Dani and Grace. The rest of the day was pretty low key. I focused on staying...

read more

Mom Tried to Warn Me, but I Wouldn’t Listen – John Piekos (April 21, 2003)

Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 in 2003, M 35 - 39, Massachusetts, Piekos - John | Comments Off on Mom Tried to Warn Me, but I Wouldn’t Listen – John Piekos (April 21, 2003)

Mom Tried to Warn Me, but I Wouldn’t Listen – John Piekos (April 21, 2003)

The slogan for the 2003 marathon was “Everything you ever needed to know about yourself you can learn in 26.2 miles.” I picked up a great poster with this slogan on it at the pre-race expo. This slogan has rung true for me for past marathons and I hope the account below will shed some meaning to it… I was relatively well prepared for this marathon, my fifth Boston, and my seventh overall. I had secured an official number waiving the qualifying time: my number was 20903. Pat, his nephew’s friend Ryan and I arrived at...

read more

The idea of the Boston Marathon is almost as powerful as the race itself – Scott McMurtrey (April 21, 2014)

Posted by on Jan 26, 2016 in 2014, M 18 - 34, McMurtrey - Scott, Washington | Comments Off on The idea of the Boston Marathon is almost as powerful as the race itself – Scott McMurtrey (April 21, 2014)

The idea of the Boston Marathon is almost as powerful as the race itself – Scott McMurtrey (April 21, 2014)

I ran Boston for the first time in 2011, and I didn’t have a strong desire to ever run it again. I had wanted to do it once in my life, and I was very grateful and satisfied to have had that experience. I just didn’t feel I needed to come back and do it again. But after watching the events unfold in 2013 while I was glued to my work computer, my emotions ran from horror, to anger, and then – like the majority of runners across the country – to defiance. “I will run Boston in 2014.” In 2011, I ran Boston like...

read more

Number Six of my Fifty State Marathons and my Proudest Accomplishment – Scott Swanson (April 15, 2002)

Posted by on Jan 26, 2016 in 2002, M 18 - 34, Nebraska, Swanson - Scott | Comments Off on Number Six of my Fifty State Marathons and my Proudest Accomplishment – Scott Swanson (April 15, 2002)

Number Six of my Fifty State Marathons and my Proudest Accomplishment – Scott Swanson (April 15, 2002)

The Boston Marathon represented the end of a two year pursuit for me. In 2000, I set a goal to qualify for Boston and reached that goal in the Twin Cities Marathon that same year (a personal record of 3:09:52). The qualifying time was good for two years. I was very busy with medical school, so I decided to run Boston the following year. By that time, I had met my wife-to-be, and we spent several days touring the historic city. (She was in OT school and couldn’t get any time off. She told her professors she had scabies and couldn’t...

read more

1st, 2nd, and 358th place for the USA – Woody Harrell (April 16, 1973)

Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in 1973, Harrell - Woody, M 18 - 34, Maryland | Comments Off on 1st, 2nd, and 358th place for the USA – Woody Harrell (April 16, 1973)

1st, 2nd, and 358th place for the USA – Woody Harrell (April 16, 1973)

First, a little background: My so-called road racing career began in fits and starts; but the initial date is easy to pin down: the day I read an article in the June 01, 1964, issue of Sports Illustrated about American expatriate Buddy Edelen. Unnoticed by most Americans, Edelen had run the first- and third-fastest marathons of all time, and had just returned from England to win the US Olympic marathon trial at Yonkers, New York, by over 20 minutes. I was fascinated! I was amazed. I was inspired! So much so  I put on my tennis shoes...

read more

How could I be giving so much, yet running so slow? – Laura Frey (April 20, 2015)

Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in 2015, F 40 - 44, Frey - Laura, North Carolina | Comments Off on How could I be giving so much, yet running so slow? – Laura Frey (April 20, 2015)

How could I be giving so much, yet running so slow? – Laura Frey (April 20, 2015)

After running back-to-back 2:58:30s in 2013 and 2014, I had set my sights squarely on going under 2:55 at Boston. However, I crossed the finish line on Boylston four minutes slower, not faster. I feel weird saying this, but I’m not as upset as you might think. Clearly, that was not the race I had trained for. While I am bummed I didn’t go sub 2:55, I’m more bummed we had horrible race conditions. That, I can’t control. If we had 40 degrees and a tailwind and I ran the same time, I would be sick to my stomach! I...

read more