BOSTON- Despite record high heat, thousands of runners participated in the 116th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16. With temperatures reaching the high 80s, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), which hosts the Boston Marathon, increased the number of its medical staff and provided runners with ample amounts of water and Gatorade to hydrate.
Two first time Boston Marathon runners, Katherine Raunig, 22, and Jerry Pilman, 45, raced through the 26-mile course stretching from Hopkinton, Mass. to the heart of Boston defying the blistering heat and joining over 21,000 runners who managed to finish the marathon.
According to the BAA, of the 26,656 participants registered only 21,606 finished the marathon, with many choosing to defer their placements to 2013. BAA communications manager Marc Davis said in an interview with Runner’s World that 2,181 athletes and spectators were treated this year due to heat exhaustion and other illnesses.
Like others in the race, Raunig, of New London, Conn., sought medical attention during the course of the marathon.
In an email to friends and family, Raunig described her arduous journey to the finish line at Copley Square. “I start[ed] my walking breaks early, close to the first mile and continue[d] a good rhythm of 5 minutes running 1 or 2 minutes walking,” she wrote. By the time she reached Wellesley, Raunig decided to stop at a medical tent, where she received “good amount of Bengay” on her left knee and outer thigh.
In the months prior to the marathon, Raunig injured her left foot with bursitis, or inflammation, which forced her to rethink her goal time.
Given her injury and the heat, Raunig said, “For the majority of the runners this year, goal times are thrown out the window. It is not about racing each other this year, it is about the experience and soaking it all in.”
Fellow runner Jerry Pilman, of Brazil, Ind., also experienced leg and foot pain during the race. “I [have] never cramped this much,” he said. Pilman added that he was even forced to walk part of the way.
Pilman, who participated in two marathons prior to the Boston Marathon to qualify as a non-charity runner, said this would be his last race due to an injury, which left him without cartilage in one of his ankles. Despite the pain, Pilman said he enjoyed the marathon and would participate again if he could.
“[It] was an awesome race! Everybody is friendly,” he said. Pilman was particularly taken aback by the hospitality shown by spectators. “They sprayed us with water from their own homes,” he said. It isn’t something you witness in other marathons, Pilman added.
Raunig finished the race with an official time of 6:01:14, landing her in 20,697 place overall and 4,376 in her division. Pilman, on the other hand, finished with an official time of 5:07:24, which landed him in 18,237 place overall and 2056 in his division. Pilman does not plan to participate in next year’s race but Raunig has already planned to start training.