Race Report from Boston 2009 from Frank Burke
I have been to Boston a couple of times and must say I love the place -
the summer weather, the scenery, the sights and of course the people, who are the most friendly I have ever met. So when I entered for the marathon at Christmas
I couldn’t wait for the 20th of April to come around.
I viewed the course on the web and read some articles on the race. I got some downhill training in as the race is run from Hopkinton downhill into Boston with a series of hills at mile18 to 21. I trained for the hills. I did seven long runs over 20 miles and my mileage from Christmas to April was high for me and would have averaged 50 miles a week - some weeks more, some weeks less. I had a good run in Ballycotton and ran well in Connemara so getting on the flight to the USA I was confident of a good run.
Got there a few days before the race and my sister showed me the route and I thought “great this looks ok” - downhill and flat with a few bumps in the middle. Just turn up and run. Even went to a margarita party on Saturday night - thanks Margot they were delicious. Rested up on Sunday and a neighbour of my sis, Pauline Bownes, picked me up at eight o’clock on Monday morning and dropped me to the start line - thanks Pauline - no queuing for buses at six o’clock in downtown Boston for me .
So this was it. The gun went off - well, two F16’s did a fly over - and we were off. The first few miles were ‘ok’ but I found the pace I had set myself, 7:15 per mile, was hard to keep. The tummy was a bit off and I was thirsty from the 2nd mile. I’m not sure why as I had taken on lots of water. So, I had water/Gatorade at the next few stops. Six miles, eight miles, ten miles and I was keeping the pace with the rest of the people that started in my corral but I was using energy I needed later on in the race. I got to half-way in 1:37. I could forget the PB, this was about finishing the race.
Passed the Wellesley girls and boy were they loud. I didn’t stop for a kiss like some, but settled for a few high fives. Fourteen miles, sixteen miles were hard work and then I see Assumpta and Floyd in the crowd cheering me on. How did they get here. Assumpta’s sister in law was running Boston also. The thought of stopping entered my head but I knew that Owen, my running buddy, would be waiting at the start of the hills and was going to run with me into Boston.
Owen found me at seventeen miles and was I happy to see him. We ran the hills. I had to make it look good as my sister and about ten of her neighbours, two nephews and my son Tiernan were at the top of heartbreak hill with the tri-colour and lots of screams. I’d like to say it helped me but I was spent. I just wanted the finish line. This was my slowest mile - 8:35 - the legs felt heavy now and I thought I was crawling, but running downhill again my pace picked up and I averaged 7:50 a mile. My left leg started to cramp at mile twenty-four and I thought I would have to join the other runners stopped up or bent over holding on to railings and there seemed to be lots of them, but, I slowed up the pace and it went away. I made it to the line in 3.20.40. Same time as Dublin in October to the second.
Thanks to Owen for all those hard miles in training and for running on the day.
Without the help it would have been a DNF. I’m not sure why I found this race so hard - jet lag, upset tummy, not enough rest, not enough down hill training -
but I found this course tough. I will try Boston again but it will be a while.
26,000 runners, 6,000 volunteers, 1,000,000 people on the course.
My quads are in bits.
A great experience.Category: