Member Submission

2021 Boston Marathon

By: Kyle Dunn

I went into the Boston Marathon with a wide range of expectations. I took a break from running after having my first child and with limited marathon experience it's hard to even know what my pace should be. Going into the race, especially without race support and help navigating pre-race logistics due to the pandemic, I decided I would be happy with anything from a new PR (about 2:50) to anything around 3 hours where I wouldn't have a sad ride home from Boston. Without the Athlete's Village I wasn't sure how pre-race fueling and warm-up would go.

Before the race I ran into an old friend from college by the city of porta potties and we had a similar goal (2:50), so we went to the rolling start together. Originally I was expecting and planning to go out a little hard on the downhill in the first few miles. He had a much more conservative plan, so we started off with a relaxed pace, slower than the goal marathon pace. I had a Patrick Luckow sighting in the first few miles as he cruised down the hills past me looking very strong at the start! The conservative strategy worked well and I felt good going into the middle chunk of the race before the hills, although I wondered if we were a little too conservative.

In Framingham we started to cruise closer to our goal pace of 6:30 min/mile. Heading through Wellseley felt great and I started to really use the crowd support as I picked up the pace heading into Newton. The hills were definitely noticeable at a higher pace, but I rolled back expectations a little through the Newton hills knowing that the Upper Valley got me ready for them. Finally the hills were done and it was mostly downhill with great crowds heading to the finish.

I opened up my stride and finished below 6:30 pace, as planned from the start. The crowd support for the last 10k leading into the city was phenomenal and definitely helped get me through to the finish! The final push down Boylston St is always longer than I expect it to be, but you kind of want it to last with the crowds lining the streets. Somehow I even heard Chris Welker cheer through all the noise! I pushed to sub-6 pace for the finish and had so much fun going for negative splits towards the end. A few friends from the Boston area greeted me at the finish with some chocolate milk. I finished in 2:50:49, missing my original goal, but I had so much fun with the fast finish without bonking that I was very happy with the race.

All in all, it was a good day. If you don't hit the wall in a marathon, you may always wonder if you could have gone just a little bit faster.  It was definitely challenging navigating the pandemic and getting over my anxiety of being around so many people for the first time in years.  The crowds always amaze me and this year they were a little terrifying too. I will definitely run the Boston Marathon again and be shocked by how many people show up to cheer.

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