The 2014 Boston Marathon was obviously a smashing success. An American won (yes, he is American dooshnozzles), the weather was perfect, nothing blew up, and peace and happiness reigned on the streets of America’s greatest city. Obviously Meb and Shalane Flanagan stole the show for the USA, but there were several local, Worcester-centric TurtleBoy Sports alumni who conquered the 26.2 mile death march as well. Their names are Elizabeth Burke (Worcester), Kyrsten Koebach (Boston), Paul McNeil (Worcester), Tim Kujawski (Arizona via Webster), James Brown (Charlestown), and Coach Paul Noone (Worcester PD).
These six individuals were just a small sample from the 35,000 that ran on Monday, but they all are further proof that the terrorists completely failed in whatever the hell it was they were trying to accomplish. They were not scared or deterred in their actions. They trained through one of the crappier winters we’ve had in a while. They, are among the few who are actually “Boston Strong.”
We asked each of them the following eight questions:
1. How old are you, and was this your first marathon? If not which ones have you run before?
I’m feeling like a Rockstar being interview by such high caliber journalism as TBS. Truly an honor.
1. I am 40. I’ve run 7 total marathons – 4 Bostons plus Dublin, Nike Women’s (San Fran), and Athens (Greece, not Georgia. People ask me that all of the time and I could smack em.)
2. I finished in 5:07. Planned on 5:20 and surprised myself.
3. I would say the suck point was right at mile 17 by the Newton firehouse. I was sporting some massive chub rub chaffing in the old thighs. I literally kissed the woman in the aid tent when I got the Popsicle sticks of Vaseline.
4. The crowd was staggering. I knew I was going to have to not focus on them as much as I would have loved to for two reasons- 1- they lift me up way too much and I end up running out of my mind and crashing and burning by the half and 2- I’m an emotional person all around and I didn’t want to sob for 5 hours. As it is, I bawled at least 5 times.It was so incredible. I’ve never been so proud to live here, to run, to be a part of something so very special. Once in a lifetime experience of feeling that overwhelming sense of community and something greater than yourself.
5. I think my favorite sign was on Heartbreak- it said “Meb won. No really, he did!!!“. I thought that was so cool, and that US pride swept over me. Ok I lied. I cried 6 times.
6. Nope, I won’t run another marathon. I’ll always be a runner, I’ve been running 28 years and have no plans to stop. But marathons are just too much. Too much time, too much injury, too much emotion. My 2013 plan was for Athens to celebrate the big bday and hang it up. That all changed when those little bastards bombed our race. My immediate response was I’m running 2014 hell or high water. And I’m finally at peace with Boston. My other Boston experiences frankly sucked for one reason or another-it was good to come back and end it on such a high note and such a special day.
7. Today I feel great. Happy and full of beer and chicken wings. And a nasty sunburn!
8. I would ask an old lady for advice, get comfortable. I would say the key to Boston is getting connected to a group that makes you commit. If it’s one running buddy or a whole team- it’s got to be someone that you don’t want to face because you didn’t feel like hauling your ass out of your warm bed on a Saturday morning when it’s 5 above with a minus 20 windchill and 87 feet of snow. You’ll hate them for it, but you’ll be all the more badass because you did it. And take on the whole experience of Boston- train on the course a few Saturdays, get out to Hopkinton at least once for a long run. And when not on course, your butt had better be outdoors and on hills. None of this treadmill crap. Boston is not for the faint of heart. It’s not every year you bitch about a sunburn- usually it’s frostbite. But it’s all worth it. It’s the closest average Joes ever get to being a famous athlete for a day, running in the steps of legends. There’s no race like Boston and it should be on everyone’s bucket list.
1. I am 35 years old. This was my first marathon.
2. My running time was 3:53. I was very pleased with my time. I was hoping to beat four hours.
3. It started to suck for me after Boston College. Before that point I felt great after BC I was tired and wanted it to end.
4. The crowd helped me a lot especially when I saw my friends and family along the course. The crowd was amazing in every town. I felt like a rock star!
5. The sign that got me the most was “I hope you shit your pants” which I saw several times.
6. Right now I’m not thinking of running again but I never say never.
7. My legs are sore but I’m ok.
8. My advice would be to train hard. I trained so hard that I knew I would succeed. I just started running in August so I credit my training.
Bonus question for Paul – what was up with that selfie you took with Governor Deval Patrick?
9. I got to Hopkinton early and watched the pre race ceremonies. I thought I was in a movie. The security was unreal with the FBI and snipers on rooftops. Gov Patrick was taking pics w/people. I asked him if I could take a selfie with him and he said yes sir. It is now my profile picture. It was a top ten day if my life!
1. I am 32. This is my 3rd marathon. I have run the Arizona Rock n Roll and Phoenix marathon.
2. My time was 4:10.40. Oh I also made national TV as my friends saw me in Arizona making a hard left into a porta potty lol.
3. The race became a nightmare on mile 18 for me. I was pacing for a 3:40s time and then I felt totally dehydrated and dizzy.
4. The crowd really picked me up on miles 22 and 23 as I had some friends with signs to push me through, then the family was at 25.
5. I really wasnt paying to the signs in particular at Wellesley rather those holding them. My favorite signs were the ones that had my name on them at 23.
6. We always say this is my last one but to anyone who’s completed one we all know thats bs.
7. I felt fine today. A little sore in the legs but still managed to cut trees and move wood with my old man today.
8. As for advice I’d say find a good pair of shoes, sign up as early as possible so you’re forced to train and run in all weather conditions as you never know what to expect in April. I did my best to tslk to as many runners at athlete’s village, to hear their stories of where they came from and how they got their entry. Experience the millions of strangers rooting you on and do your best to high five all the fans you can. Like all other races the first view of the finish line brings back the entire race of what you’ve given physically and mentslly to run 26.2 miles because anyone who says it’s enjoyable is full of it. And just the experience of the world’s most famous marathon especially after last year’s horrid acts of terrorism. I grew up watching the race and never thought in my lifetime I’d be the one running it one day.
1. I am 27 years old and this was my first marathon
2. My time was 5:18 which was over an hour slower than my goal time.
3. Mile 9 is where the race started to suck… I haven’t run in 2 weeks because of knee injuries, this is where they started to flare up
4. Crowd def helped out. It was nearly impossible to do anything but run through all the town centers. At one point a huge group of guys started changing “Teddy! Teddy!” And I realized I was running next to Teddy Bruschi. He stopped and took a pic with the guys. Other cool thing was in Wellesley I spotted Danny Ainge on the road, made eye contact, pointed at him and he gave me a high five. I don’t think anyone was recognizing him. Best crowd was the Wellesley girls by far. I kissed two of them much to my fiancés displeasure.
5. Many many good signs. Can’t remember any specific ones. Also, I was running for the Bruins Foundation so I got a ton of “go bruins” cheers along the way. One group started chanting “we want the cup” and the bruins goal song was actually blaring as I started up heartbreak hill. I made it to the top, stopped to puke, and kept going.
6. I don’t want to run any more marathons. I’m not a runner, I don’t enjoy running. I only ran this year because I’ve always wanted to run one and last years events finally made me do it. My sister and I ran this year for the first time and joined my Mom who ran in 1983.
7. Today I’m very sore. Better than I thought, I can walk around, but it’s tough to get off the couch.
8. I would advise runners to make sure you train more than I did. I only ran about 85 miles over 10 runs in preparation for this marathon. I play a lot of hockey which is good for cardio but my legs weren’t exactly ready. Also be prepared for harsh training conditions. This winter was brutal and made it hard to train more.
1. I am 25 years old, and this was technically my second marathon. I ran Boston last year but was stopped at mile 25.8 because of what happened at the finish line.
2. My time was 5:09. I was not particularly happy with my time, but given what happened last year, I was happy just to finish. I think I was blindsided by the heat after 6 months of training in sub zero temps.
3. Marathon started to suck around mile 4 for me when I realized I had gone out too strong in the heat. Then it started to get awesome again around mile 7. And then sucked again in the middle of heartbreak hill (mile 21). Then I saw my family in Brookline and it was awesome again. So I went through different stages!!
4. The crowd definitely helped me out the whole way. I had my name on the front of my jersey in permanent marker and the BC college kids in particular were yelling at me not to give up. One drunk girl even ran with me for about 10 minutes yelling “come on, Liz! Liz – look at me! Don’t stop!”
5.. The best sign I saw was on heartbreak hill and was a cardboard cut-out of Ryan Gosling that said “Hey girl, keep going, you’re almost there.” I’m biased though because I LOVE Ryan Gosling.
6. I am running Chicago in October!
7. I feel sore and sun burnt, but after we finished they made us walk about 4 blocks to get medals, water, and exit the security section (What more do they want from us?!) so I got to stretch out a lot!
8. I would tell people who want to run next year to be serious about training because it makes all the difference on that day! And also if possible, prepare for all types of weather. AND, to enjoy every minute of the experience!!
Coach Paul Noone
1. My name is Paul Noone, aka “CPN,” and I am thirty years young. This was not my first marathon, though it definitely felt that way for me on Monday. This was my second Boston, and I’ve also finished Honolulu, and Philadelphia. I guess you could also include Ironman Lake Placid in there too.
2. My time was 3:13.33
3. Things started to go south very early on for me Monday. By mile ten with the way I was feeling, I knew it wasn’t going to be my day, so I decided to focus on just finishing the race, rather than hitting my splits.
4. Did the crowd help you out? Any cool stories? The crowd at Boston, is what makes this marathon one of, if not the best in the world. It’s impossible not to feed off their energy, and I definitely needed that on Monday. One of the most inspiring parts of the race for me, took place on Heartbreak Hill. I saw this guy probably around the same age as me, wearing a bright green t-shirt with Martin Richard written on the back of it, with only one leg, and a prosthetic blade. I saw this “warrior” of a man, as we were both about to crest Heartbreak Hill, and everybody going by was either giving him a pat on the back or words of sincere encouragement. Seeing that kind of courage and heart, at that point in the Boston Marathon for everything it stood for this year, was beyond words.
5. The signs that I can actually remember seeing, were variatons of “kiss me,” when running by the Wellesley College girls. I stopped twice, while running through the Wellesley scream tunnel.
6. As much as I hate the marathon, I love the marathon. This rings true for Boston in particular. Boston has crushed me twice now. I’m hoping the third time, I can turn things around in my favor. I also plan on running Vermont the end of May.
7. The way I feel today, makes me question why I would ever want to run another marathon again….yet then I think of my masochistic nature, and I understand why.
8. I’d tell someone who wants to run next year that if they have the opportunity to run Boston, take it. They won’t regret it.
Bonus Question: I’ve seen you eat an obscene amount of french toast after a long run – how much french toast did you eat after the marathon?
Sadly, I had no french toast post race on Monday. This could be the missing link in my current training program. Thanks TurtleBoy!!!
There you have it folks. Six local role models showing us all what “Boston Strong” really means. If you haven’t run Boston before, do it before you die. Most likely you’re not fast enough to qualify (I don’t think any one of these six would’ve qualified with these times), so your best bet is to sign up to run for a charity. They’ll make you promise to raise $4,000 or something like that, but it’s actually a lot easier than it sounds. If you put it on Facebook, they will come. Next year I’d like to have at least ten of you on here. So keep on kicking ass and showing the world why Boston has the greatest people on Earth.
Feel free to share your thoughts to keep the conversation going.