BOSTON MARATHON 2019 RACE RECAP
Eleven Harriers crossed the famed finish line on Boylston Street this year
WEATHER THE WEATHER
The 123rd running of the Boston Marathon saw several Harriers toeing the start line in Hopkinton.
Following a solid year of PRs, Eduardo Brandao was ready to run the Boston Marathon for the first time. “It’s a goal I've been chasing for many years,” he says. One thing he may not have anticipated was the city’s unpredictable weather.
On Sunday race eve, heavy rain drenched the course. And Monday morning brought a downpour, along with thunder and lightning, as 27,000 runners made their way to the start in Hopkinton. Eduardo huddled under a tent in the Athlete's Village to stay dry. “I sat on a plastic sheet someone had put there and tried to just relax,” he says.
Another Harrier, Eva Frissora, was ready for it: she had experienced the epic drenching weather of 2018. Along with husband Brent and teammate Justin Perkins, she arrived at the AV decked out in garbage bags. It was, she reports, “a mud pit” and the plastic bags she used to protect her running shoes “served as perfect suction cups…got stuck in place a few times!”
Ted Larsen, who was coming off of a big PR in Tokyo just a month earlier, found the start less than ideal. “Yoooo that place sucked,” he says, adding “some dude sorta puked on my bus to the village.” Needless to say, the runners were eager to get out and start their race.
But Eduardo’s worries about the cold and the rain that was forecast in the week leading up to the race never materialized. As the first wave went off, the rain moved out and delivered warmer conditions, with no rain to cool down the runners. “It really threw me off a bit…it ended up being too hot!” Laura Keeley, also returning to Boston, joked that she should have made “more pleasing sacrifices to the weather gods in the run-up to the race.”
“I really do hate to make excuses,” she says, “but I will never hit my peak performance when it is 69 degrees and humid at the start.” Like many other runners, she knew the heat was going to make an already challenging day even tougher.
A GOOD DAY FOR SPECTATING
While the weather wasn’t great for a 26.2 mile run, it turned into an excellent day for the spectators. Daniel Goldstein, along with Robin Kennedy, ran the BAA 5k on Saturday, even nailing a new PR on America’s fastest 5k course. The two spent the weekend exploring Boston and sampling from its many breweries. Now Monday morning was turning into a similarly perfect spring day.
Alanna and Patrick, transplanted Harriers now living in Boston, also came out to cheer their New York teammates, spectating with the Cambridge Running Club on Heartbreak Hill. “It was so cool to be at such a meaningful spot in the race,” Alanna says.
She especially loves how the entire weekend feels like a true celebration. “One of the best parts for me was how much non-runners talked about and thought about the Marathon leading up to it,” Alanna muses. “It really reminds you how much smaller Boston is compared to New York! I got the sense that everyone -- even my coworkers who don't own a pair of running shoes -- consider the Boston Marathon a part of who they are as Boston residents.”
Dan and Robin chose a spot further into the race, watching the lead women turn onto Hereford, including Des Linden. They then moved on to see the men gun it up the underpass in what turned into “a literal neck and neck dash to the finish.”
SCREAMING TUNNEL, BREAKING HEARTS, CRYING QUADS
Meanwhile out on the course, runners got a real kick out of the famed Wellesley Scream Tunnel. “You can hear it from like, a quarter mile away,” Justin says. Eduardo was pushing through one of the harder moments when he heard the screams, delivering some much-needed motivation. “I couldn't hold myself from giving high fives,” he says.
He used that energy to push up Heartbreak Hill. “We saw most of our New York Harriers, but some of them were running too fast for us to catch! I'm lookin' at you, Eduardo!” Alanna says. Ted got some non-sanctioned fluids from Boston College fraternity members, who tossed him a beer mid-run.
Eduardo recounts his struggle over the second half. “Everyone warns us about Heartbreak Hill, but no one warns us about all the rolling hills leading up to that.”
Ted is more blunt: “There are 5 hills, not 4. I’m not sure how that got lost in translation.”
Eva started cramping right at the base of Heartbreak Hill. “Running up Heartbreak alone is already tough enough, let alone to be cramping at the same time,” she says. “It made for a very nerve-racking final few miles.” What got her through was seeing “the most beautiful faces in the crowd -- Patrick and Alanna” and later Dan and Robin.
When asked if he found the course challenging for his second Boston marathon, Justin shot back, “Is this a serious question? ...My quads were crying.” Laura battled her way up the Newtown hills, wryly noting they had “neither moved to earlier in the race when I would have more energy nor flattened out any in the past year.”
By this point, Dan and Robin had moved on to “Cannoli Corner” at mile 25.5 with a giant pink H sign to cheer on all the Harriers and give high fives. Laura says spotting them “was a real highlight -- and a sign that I was almost done!”
Still, through the heat and the hills, the Harriers prevailed. Eduardo PR’d, crediting “every Harrier for all the love and support during all those intense training weeks I had!” Eva nailed a Boston course PR as well.
Laura says she gave it her all, but may attempt a new strategy in the future: “Perhaps going on one leg of Robin and Dan's Sunday brewery tour would have helped numb some of the pain that was coming on Monday.”
Runners celebrated after with beer (and tater tots for Laura). “The whole weekend is so much fun,” says Eva. “I loved hanging out with the Harriers gang...my favorite people ever!”
So will they be back next year?
Eduardo: Hell yeah! And I will try to go smarter.
Eva: This is one of my most favorite weekends ever!! But TBD…
Ted will be back when he officially BQs. Meanwhile, he has a new World Majors accomplishment to celebrate.
Alanna says, “It was an emotional day to witness and I can't wait to spectate again next year.”
As for Dan, “Absolutely! I’m hoping a bunch of other Harriers will join us for the 5k and a long run between Boston area breweries the next day.”
2019 Boston Marathon Results
Hopkinton, MA | April 15, 2019 | Various | Marathon
Matthew Billings | 2:48:20
Justin Perkins | 2:54:41
Eduardo Brandao | 2:55:04
Gary Frankland | 2:58:30
James Innes | 3:01:12
Wendy De Wolf | 3:05:39
Mirjam Lablans | 3:17:37
Eva Frissora | 3:25:22
Ted Larsen | 3:26:20
Laura Keeley | 3:28:47
Melissa Au | 3:43:39
2019 BAA 5K Results
Boston, MA | April 13, 2019 | 8:00am | 5K
Dan Goldstein | 21:16
Robin Kennedy | 21:16