Each year, some pretty fast yanks compete for the coveted status as the first New England finisher (male and female) at the Boston Marathon.
Written by: Mario Fraioli
Running fans around the country will be keeping a close eye Monday on Olympians Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi, hoping that this might be the year an American male can finally reclaim the top spot on the podium at the Boston Marathon. Around New England running circles, however, many eyes will also be focused on the race within the race to see who can stake their claim as the top local yokel in the world’s most famous marathon.
In reality, seeing a New England resident cross the finish line first on Monday is a delusion of grandeur, but for the local marathoners themselves, taking home the title of top runner in the region would be a grand achievement.
“To be the top New Englander on Monday would mean a lot,” says Adam Fitzgerald, a 2:25 marathoner from Cambridge, Massachusetts. “Growing up in Massachusetts, the Boston Marathon is easily the biggest running event of the year for a local marathoner. Given the fact that I have struggled at Boston the last three years, to run well this year and finish as the top New England finisher would really make it one of the most special days of my running career.”
Fitzgerald, the second-ranked runner in the region behind Middletown, Connecticut’s Brendan Callahan (2:23:25 at New York City last fall), is one of eight sub-2:30 male marathoners in New England hoping to be the first local to cross Boylston Street’s fabled finish line. Knowing he’s got his work cut out for him, Fitzgerald feels confident in his recent training and is looking forward to mixing it with some of the best runners in the region on Monday.
“Hopefully I’ve put my bad luck at Boston behind me,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m excited to get out there and have a good race.”
Other Runners To Watch
New Hampshire’s Brandon Newbould (2:27:53), Scott Rowe (2:28:09) and Andy McCarron (2:29:02), along with Massachusetts residents Chris Hartshorn (2:26:32), David Bedoya (2:27:13) and Ryan Carrara (2:27:13), will all be looking to challenge Callahan and Fitzgerald for the title of top New England male on Monday. Last year’s top local finisher, Eric Blake of New Britain, Connecticut, is not listed amongst this year’s entrants. Blake ran 2:23:54 to place 24th overall in 2009.
In the women’s race, Sheri Piers of Falmouth, Maine is the heavy favorite to repeat as the top runner in the region on Monday. Piers, who ran 2:37:04 to place 11th among women at last year’s Boston Marathon, is ranked more than 10 minutes ahead of the next fastest New England qualifier in this year’s race. Kim Duclos, a 2:38:21 marathoner from Worcester, Massachusetts, has withdrawn her name from the start list, citing a slow recovery from her recent 2:42:52, 8th place effort at the Los Angeles Marathon on March 21.
“I decided to opt out of Boston because LA’s course was so crazy,” Duclos said. “There’s only four weeks between Boston and LA and that wasn’t enough recovery time after going through those hills.”