123rd Annual Boston Marathon Runs Successfully

Levi Herron, Metro Editor

April 15th marked the 123rd running of the famed Boston Marathon. The 26.2-mile course takes runners from Hopkinton, MA, to the finish line on Boylston Street in downtown Boston. Known for its rolling hills (most notably the ominously named Heartbreak Hill) and its unpredictable weather, the race is widely regarded as one of the hardest major marathons in the world. In addition, with roughly 500,000 attendees each year, the Boston Marathon is the most widely viewed sporting event in New England.

The marathon is known worldwide, sadly in part because of a terrorist attack at the finish line in 2013 that killed three people. The perpetrators of the attack also murdered an MIT police officer before being apprehended by law enforcement in a massive manhunt. A year after the attack, a Boston police officer passed away from injuries he sustained during the bombing, bringing the death toll to five.

Tribute has been paid to those killed during marathons since, and two monuments are currently under construction near the finish line. The bombing also spawned the creation of the “Boston Strong” campaign, which aims to unite the city in support of the victims.

In the face of this immense tragedy, the Marathon has kept going strong. With over 30,000 competitors and a qualification requirement for entry, competition is always fierce. This year, the mens winner was Kenyan Lawrence Cherono, who beat Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa by two-tenths of a second in a sprint down Boylston Street. Cherono finished in 2:07:57, meaning that his average mile time was 4:53. The womens winner was Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia, with a time of 2:23:31. Degefa pulled away from the pack around mile four and held a commanding lead for the rest of the race. 

There were many other notable highlights from the 2019 Marathon. 20-year-old Daniel Romanchuk became the youngest man ever to win the wheelchair division with a time of 1:21:36. Another inspiring story was that of Secret Service agent and Boston native Garret Fitzgerald. In 2015, Agent Fitzgerald was paralyzed from the neck down in an on-duty car crash. This year he, alongside his Secret Service supervisor Don McGrail, finished the marathon with McGrail pushing Fitzgerald in a running chair. In addition, 71-year-old Gene Dykes went sub-3:00:00 on the marathon, shattering the record for his age group that he himself had set last year.

Although the marathon is an international event, many local runners participate as well. Satchel Sieniewicz, brother of CRLS junior Jasper Sieniewicz, was one of those runners. Satchel, who will be starting college at MIT next year, said of the race, “The marathon was an intense mental struggle, but I knew the only thing that I couldn’t do was not finish.”

He also said about the final leg of the race, “The feeling of taking that last turn onto Boylston Street was pretty unbeatable.” In conclusion, Sieniewicz said, “Now, even after all that pain, the only thing I want to do is start training and do it again.”

This piece also appears in our April 2019 print edition.