The Boston Marathon course will be strangely quiet this Monday, with the race postponed until Sept. 14 and runners being urged not to take to the 26.2 mile stretch. The coronavirus-fueled delay, while expected and accepted, has forced Wellesley runners—and those who work here or are running on behalf of Wellesley organizations—to rejigger their plans and expectations.
A healing break
For Tom Crehan, running for the War Memorial Scholarship, the postponement is something of a break even though he’d upped his long runs to 19 miles. “I was mentally ready for the race but the the postponement may prove fortuitous because I had an acute knee injury that was bothering me more and more. I think I ramped up (pun) the hill workouts too fast and wasn’t foam-rolling my IT band regularly enough,” he says.
He’s been running less since the postponement, doing upper body strength training and getting things done around the house in preparation for a border collie he’s adopting (“Speaking of high energy and discipline!”).
Training this past “winter” was a treat for marathon runners and the summer could be a lot less so, especially for someone like Crehan who needs to be at work by 5:30 a.m. Still, Crehan assures that he’ll be running the marathon in a few months assuming it takes place. “In a way it´s great to be one of the first to say ‘Iĺl be running Boston in September.
“I am going to train as if the starting gun is going to go off on Sept. 14th and if doesn´t go off Iĺl keep toeing the line until it does,” he says.
Fitness & mental health
Ellen Banthin, a Natick resident who teaches 5th graders at Wellesley’s Sprague Elementary School, will be ready to go in September as well. “I can’t wait to be part of this historic September running of the Boston Marathon,” she says.
Banthin has scaled back and changed up her running plans since the marathon was postponed. “Since I didn’t need the long, hard miles followed by a 2-3 week taper, I’ve kept my focus on getting out most mornings to run for fitness and my mental health during this unprecedented time,” she says.
Her run is ultimately in support of Project Hope, a homeless shelter for women and their children in Roxbury. “COVID-19 has made their living situations more complicated than ever before,” she says.
Sights set on sub-3:20 marathon
Wellesley’s Sam Steere was about 3 weeks away from tapering when the Boston Marathon was postponed, and since then he’s scaled back his running to 10-15 miles a week. Enough to stay in decent shape, but no long runs.
However, he did sneak in a speed 1:31:03 half marathon in Hampton, N.H., in early March, giving him confidence that a sub-3:20 Boston Marathon could be in the offing for September if the race indeed takes place then. “At that time, I had a feeling that the Boston Marathon might be cancelled, so thought the Hampton race might be my big event of the spring,” says Steere, who is running the marathon to raise funds for Wellesley ABC.
Steere plans to start ramping up his marathon training again in mid to late June. As for this Marathon Monday, he and his family are planning to participate in the Backyard Boston Marathon, which is being organized by the “How was your run today” podcasters.
“While still social distancing, they are asking for people to do 26.2 of something in honor of Marathon Monday,” he says. “I thought I would go for a 2.62 mile run and then do 131 push-ups and 131 sit-ups. You will not see me anywhere near the Boston Marathon course though!”
A teaching moment
Betsy Waisel, who ran for Wellesley High School a few years back and is now teaching at a high school in Indiana, won’t be anywhere near the course either this Monday (“Thank you to the BAA for working so hard to support the runners and community, and for handling this situation with such thoughtfulness!”). But she plans to be there in September, running on behalf of the Wellesley Friendly Aid Association.
“I won’t be lacing up to run 26.2 on Monday. I teach high school, so I’ll be working from home and connecting with my students via Zoo,” she says. “I’ll definitely get out for a (solo, socially-distanced) run at some point.”
When Waisel heard the marathon was postponed, she pretty immediately scaled back on mileage. “I knew if I kept running the weekly mileage I had been running in March all the way through September, I would be exhausted come race day. After using the past month or so to go on shorter runs and really focus on strength training, I plan to start up full-fledged marathon training again at the start of May,” she says.
She might get a little dose of the marathon on Monday as well though.
“I heard the Boston Marathons from 2014 on are being shown on TV, so I’ll definitely do my best to catch some of those!”