Run Boston Strong
The streets were washed in the 2018 Boston Marathon with thousands of runners and raindrops.
April 18, 2018
Frigid temperatures, strong winds and pouring rain did not stop Boston pride spreading from Hopkinton to Boylston Street Monday at the 122nd Boston Marathon.
Due to the abrasive weather conditions, many runners debated on backing out of the race, including American winner Desiree Linden, as she told reporters at the finish line. This year’s marathon had nearly 3,000 runners drop out prior to the race. Of the 26,948 who did start the race, 1,202 did not finish, according to the Boston Athletic Association (BAA).
One of those who did finish was Suffolk University alumnus Matt Durkin, ‘17, who also ran the Marathon in 2015. He described the running conditions as being some of the worst he has ever seen. Despite entering the race into such harsh weather, Durkin said that the fan base that came out for the race was astounding and just what the runners needed given the weather.
“In the best way I could explain it was like getting put through a car wash for five hours with thirty mile per hour winds,” said Durkin in an interview with The Suffolk Journal. But the spectators, he said, “were absolutely incredible, all ages from babies to elderly, and they were there from Hopkinton all the way to the finish line.”
Tens of thousands of loyal fans lined the streets of the course, despite the weather and officials announced that about 9,000 volunteers lined the 26.2 mile course, from beginning to end.
Michigan native and two-time Olympian Linden, who lost the Marathon in 2011 by a mere two seconds, crossed the finish line at 12:11 p.m. and became the first American woman in 33 years to win the Boston Marathon.
Linden ran the entire race in 2 hours 39 minutes 54 seconds according to the BAA. With this historic win, she recorded an average pace of 6 minutes and 6 seconds per mile.
Linden took the lead right before the 22nd mile and was able to hold it through to the finish line.
When Linden was rounding Coolidge Corner, the announcer told spectators on Boylston Street that her “face of concentration was unmatched.”
“Honestly, at mile 2, 3, 4, I didn’t feel like I was going to make it to the finish line,” Linden told reporters after Marathon officials and Governor Charlie Baker bestowed the gold-dipped crown on her head. Linden had slowed after the sixth mile to wait for fellow elite runner Shalane Flanagan for a bathroom break and told reporters that she told Flanagan that she “might not make it” and was ready to help Flanagan with the rest of the race.
In the men’s race, Yuki Kawauchi of Japan, after trailing Kenyan runner Geoffrey Kirui earlier in the race, closed the gap at Kenmore Square and beat out Kirui for the win running the 26.2 miles in roughly 2 hours 16 minutes.
Durkin’s time was nearly twice that of Kawauchi, an elite runner, but he was determined to finish his charity run and happy to see the spirit of both fellow runners and the crowds.
“I couldn’t get over how many people were out there. It was way more than when I did it in 2015 when it was rainy and cold but this was a completely different experience,” said Durkin. “It was almost fake, that’s how hard the rain was pounding down.”
Durkin, who holds a degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Marketing, is currently the executive director of the nonprofit organization The Durkin Foundation. The nonprofit provides services to those who are affected by Alzheimer’s Disease and Intellectual Disabilities as well as providing assistance to those in the military struggling with settling in back home.
“I ran with myself and two other people [and] the team raised $54 thousand for the foundation,” said Durkin. “I’m excited. We’re in our first year so [we’re] hoping to get a couple more bibs and become an official Boston Marathon charity within the next couple years.”
Suffolk adjunct faculty Nicolle Renick also ran Monday. She too struggled with the cold, saying that even when training in 20-degree weather she felt warmer.
“The wind was brutal, and it rained steadily the entire time until mile 25.8. I could already feel at mile eight in Natick that the wind was draining a lot of energy from me,” said Renick. “The worst part was Wellesley; the rain poured really hard in some spots there.”
In her fifth Boston Marathon, Renick ran for the Alzheimer’s Association in honor of her father who was diagnosed with dementia, saying that she is very happy to have “stumbled upon” the amazing group of people. She finished in 5 hours 25 minutes 39 seconds.
“I had run my first marathon in Maine in October 2010, and wanted to run Boston for the Alzheimer’s charity team, so just three days after I completed the Maine Marathon, I sent in my application,” said Renick in an email to The Journal. “I am forever grateful that I stumbled upon this amazing group of people. Seventy-nine percent of all fundraising dollars go to care, support, research, awareness and advocacy activities for the Alzheimer’s Association.”
Prior to the marathon, there was a vigil held on the evening of Sunday, April 15, to pay respects to those affected by the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. In addition, the Red Sox held a moment of silence on Sunday at Fenway Park during the seventh inning of the contest against the Baltimore Orioles, showing the deep sentiment the city feels for the tragedy. Due to the rain, the Red Sox traditional Patriots Day game was postponed.
“People are very connected to the marathon especially from the bombing and they want to be supportive of everyone,” said Durkin. “I think the spectators knew that the runners needed their support and I couldn’t get over how many people were out there. It was way more [spectators] than when I [ran] in 2015… [It was so] humbling and incredible, people coming out.”
Renick ran in 2013, but due to a medical condition, she stopped the race halfway and missed the bombings. She stated that the pride was much higher at the marathon the year following the bombings, and that the tragedy simply pushed people to love the city of Boston even more.
“I also ran in 2014, and the energy was even more intense and exciting than normal,” said Renick. “Ever since then, I feel like Boston has become even more special than it already was.”