Technology entrepreneur trail runner/ tri-athlete Scott Dunlap did not know what it meant to “BQ” when race officials told him he had just done that at the end of the 2004 Park City marathon. But the following April he was indeed in the field for the 109th Boston.
“Being a trail runner, Boston was new for me in many ways – pavement, screaming fans, hash house harriers, and enough sub-4 hour marathoners to fill a stadium. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but by the time it was done, my eyes were open to a whole new world of marathoning… As I crossed the finish line (3:04:17), a volunteer said, ‘congratulations – you just qualified for Boston again.’ But this time I actually knew what it meant, and I could barely contain myself. There was no doubt I would be back again.”
On his A Trail Runner’s Blog he chronicles his 11th Boston Marathon.
Joanne Willcox of Utica, New York, has run Boston multiple times, but during her first run in 2011, a famous landmark snuck up on her: “I looked up and WHAM! There was the Citgo sign. It came up on me so suddenly. I had been looking forward to seeing it on the course, knowing I would almost be home, but then had COMPLETELY forgotten about it during the race. There it was. FANTASTIC!”
Here she reports on that race, where she sensed success just after passing the 18 mile mark: “I knew I could do it. Nothing was hurting. My body was numb.”
Thirteen years before Abebe Bikila astounded the running world by winning the Rome Olympic marathon without the benefit of shoes, the 1947 Boston Marathon had its own barefoot runner, Donald A. Post. Described as “truly an all-around athlete, competing in baseball, football, basketball and foot-races, always with his bare tootsies,” Post explained “Shoes bother my feet.”
When Kathy Johnson of Marin County, California, later saw images of Boston Marathon runners caught in the chaos between the 2013 bomb explosions, many of their faces looked familiar. Earlier she had been running alongside several of them. She was just about to turn onto Boylston Street, roughly three blocks from the finish line, when she heard both the explosions.
From the start, the 2013 race did not go well for Johnson. Dealing with both injury and a bad cold, she had run at a slow pace, stopping multiple times for cramping muscles. But even as other runners pulled away, the overwhelming crowd support had kept her going: “As we got into the city of Boston, the crowds were so loud your ears were buzzing.”
When Johnson heard the first explosion over the deafening yells of the crowd, she thought “oh no, that doesn’t sound right.” A nearby cheering spectator said cannons were going off for the runners, but Johnson wasn’t convinced. She kept her eyes on the police: “There were a lot of police and armed forces on the course and a bunch of police were standing off to my left.”
After the first explosion, the officers suddenly put their fingers to their ears and appeared to be listening to their radios. “When the second explosion happened, they all gathered and, literally five seconds after that, they came onto the course and stopped us,” Johnson said. “They were on it immediately and were very decisive. They stopped us all from going any further and told us something had happened on Boylston Street.”
Her story along with that of several other San Francisco area runners can be found here in the San Anselmo-Fairfax Patch. Kathy Johnson would return to Boston in much better health in 2014 and cut forty minutes off her 2013 time, finishing in 3:33:11.
82-year-old Langdon, North Dakota, native was oldest runner at 2015 Boston Marathon. The grandma marathoner is used to a common question from fellow runners. “I get comments (about her age) all the time,’’ Katherine Beiers said, ‘’especially in races. Runners will go by and they’ll say, ‘Do you mind my asking’ and before they finish the sentence I tell them my age. That’s been going on for 15 years.’’