AshevilleNews Stories

Leicester resident runs Boston Marathon


Donna Murry with her Boston Marathon number.

Murry started running in 2013 and has run over 5,000 miles. She started with a few 5K runs and went on to several large marathons, but just because you finished a marathon doesn’t guarantee your entry to the Boston Marathon. Murry said, “You get in based on how many other folks qualify in your division and how fast you are compared to the others. For the 2017 race, runners had to run at least 2:09 minutes faster than their age group’s qualifying time.”

Qualifying and then running in the Boston Marathon is on the bucket list for most professional runners. Every year it is held on Patriot’s Day, the third Monday of April. The race started in 1897, and is the world’s oldest annual marathon. Because it is so popular, the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) limits the number of folks allowed in each year by their finishing times in other sanctioned marathons. Lots of runners run many marathons and never qualify.

“I found out in September of 2016 that I was accepted into the race. I followed a race training plan through the Runkeeper app, which began on December 26th. Between December 26th and the marathon, I ran 500 training miles,” Murry said. “Many of those training runs were on Newfound Road and the side roads along Newfound. I train by myself and ran the marathon by myself.”

Runners representing 99 countries participated in the race. Wheelchair participants and people who had lost legs in war or the Boston bombing were also in attendance. Murry said, “There were so many inspirational people with one goal of crossing the finish line.”

During the race water stations as well as medical tents were at every mile marker because of high temperatures. Over 2,300 people were treated at the medical tents. Many of them had dehydration, sever leg cramps and internal body temperatures ranging from 105.6 – 108.8. Murry said, “Several people had to be forcefully restrained in ice baths to bring their temperatures down.”

The 2017 race was significant because it was the 50 year anniversary of the first female runner who was issued a bid to finish the race, Katherine Switzer. In 1967, women were considered too fragile to run and only males were allowed to run.

Switzer only used her first initial on the application and so the Boston Athletic Association did not block her acceptance. Race officials tried to physically remove her from the course when they realized she was a woman. She kept running and opened the door for other female runners. Katherine Switzer ran the race this year at the age of 70 and completed it in 4 hours 44 minutes and 33 seconds.

With over 500,000 spectators, security for the marathon has been ramped up since the bombing in 2013. No backpacks, coolers, sleeping bags, etc. are allowed on the course. All purses are inspected and tagged before spectators can get anywhere near the race. Police presence was seen all along the course.

Murry said, “The bombing didn’t make me nervous about running the race. In fact, the bombing made me want to participate in the race. The resilience of the runners and the entire city made me proud to be an American.”

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