Two Almost Athletes, Julie Bridge and Alison Hume, made the 3,000 mile journey to Massachusetts to participate in the 116th Boston marathon.
The New England weather is notoriously changeable and this year’s race was run in unseasonably hot temperatures more suited to midsummer, leading over 4,000 of the 27,000 strong field to withdraw from the event and a further 2,000 to be treated for heat-related problems during the race.
The undulating point-to-point course, which is notable for having only five turns along its entire length, takes runners east through eight different communities from the rural town of Hopkinton to central Boston. When the starter’s gun was fired, the temperature had already risen to 79 degrees.
Julie and Alison decided to heed the race organisers’ advice and run together at a conservative pace. However, it became apparent after 10k that they would be unable to maintain even this pace on the largely shadeless course, so they adopted a more comfortable run/walk strategy. High points of this historic marathon include the enthusiasm and energy of the spectators, most notably in the “scream tunnel” formed by the girls of Wellesley College at the halfway point (where more male runners than usual stopped for a morale boosting kiss) and rounding the final corner to the adrenaline-pumping finish on Boylston Street.
Peaking at a record-breaking 87 degrees, the brutality of race day conditions was reflected in the slowest winning times since 1985. The men’s winner, Wesley Korir of Kenya, clocked a conservative 2:12:40, over ten minutes behind Geoffrey Mutai’s world beating time of 2:03:02 in the 2011 event. The women’s winner, Kenyan Sharon Cherop, recorded 2:31:50, some nine minutes slower than her compatriot Caroline Kilel’s 2011 winning time of 2:22:36.
Julie and Alison crossed the line together, relieved but jubilant, in 5:16:13. In so doing Julie had completed over twenty marathons and achieved her dream of running all five World Marathon Majors.
View qualifying standards and entry into the 2013 race