#FinishSTRONG – running the Boston Marathon in Kincardine – Kincardine News

#FinishSTRONG – running the Boston Marathon in Kincardine  Kincardine News

Pete Richards (L) ran a virtual Boston Marathon on Sunday, September 6, through Kincardine. The Boston Marathon was cancelled this year due to COVID, but those who qualified were still invited to run the distance of 42km through their own hometowns. Richards has run the Boston Marathon three times. Hannah MacLeod/Kincardine News

Share Adjust Comment Print

Back in April Pete Richards, of Kincardine, was planning to run the Boston Marathon for his fourth time. As with many events this year, COVID halted his plans.

The Boston Athletic Association optimistically thought that by September that they would be able to run the official Boston Marathon safely, however that was not the case. Rather than cancel the prestigious event, which would have been celebrating its 124th anniversary this year, the event moved online.

The Virtual Marathon was offered only to those who had qualified and registered for the 2020 Race. 18,000 runners from around the world registered for the Virtual Boston Marathon where they could run in their own countries and communities.

“A smart phone app was used to provide each participant with training plans, motivational articles, a printable Bib Number,” explained Richards. “My proof of completion of the distance was submitted with a file from my GPS watch. It had to show that my run was completed in one continuous effort.”

In order to qualify for any Boston Marathon you must complete a certified Marathon, which is 42.2km, within a certain time limit based on age.

“For me at 66 years, that time had to be under 4:05:00,” he said. “I ran the Hamilton Marathon in 3:56:35 to qualify for Boston. My Virtual Marathon was a lot slower than that. It wasn’t a race, but proof of completion of the distance. As the Mayor of Boston so aptly put it, ‘it is more of a celebration of human spirit’”.

Richards has run over 25 marathons including the Boston Marathon three times.

“The Boston Marathon is an electrifying experience where approximately 30,000 of the fastest runners on the planet converge in the city of Boston,” said Richards. “The Boston Marathon is probably the most prestigious in the world. Thousands of spectators line the streets, enthusiastically cheering on each participant. I haven’t had any running experience quite like it. The adrenaline of competing in such a world-class event is tough to replicate.”

A hamstring injury hampered his training, but with physiotherapy and a modified plan of cycling, stretching and strengthening he was able to get his crucial long training runs in. Richards is also an advocate of doing hill repeats, which he claims are a great tool for lowering impact while providing a great cardio workout.

Joining Pete Richards on his virtul run were some other members of West Shore Runners; L-R: Colleen Caplin, Gary Robinson, Heather Padfield, Pete Richards, Cathy Pennington, Anna Galina, Stephanie Murray, Jess Willich.Hannah MacLeod/Kincardine News

Notably, the Kincardine version of the Boston Marathon saved Richards a lot of money, and allowed his friends to join him for part of the race.

The first 37km were run by himself, with friends from his “West Shore Runners” group joining him at the Davidson Centre Track to take him to the finish line. Richards long time friend, Ian Driver, and his family set up a “hydration station” at the track, and once more reminded him that “It’s all down-hill from here”.

“Even my physio-therapist, Kris Joyce, joined me at the track to encourage me for the last kilometers,” he said. “Finishing downtown Kincardine was a little different than Boston but this time it was wonderful to see friends and neighbours cheering me on at the end. It was wonderful. However one very important bit was exactly the same, my ever-supportive wife Patti was there. Having such a pastime requires a lot of tolerance from one’s family.”

Richards route took him North to the gates of Mystic Cove, and South to Bruce Beach, with a few laps of the track to allow his friends to join him – wearing masks, of course.

“I couldn’t see their smiles, but I felt their friendship,” said Richards.

“Finishing the Boston Marathon is an experience like no other, the supporting crowds along Boylston Street cheering you on is quite emotional, the History of the race and its reputation as possibly the World’s most prestigious marathon is huge,” he said, in a post on his Facebook group. “It would have probably been my last Boston, so seeing some support from our Crew of West Shore Runners was certainly a boost to my effort.”

Pete Richards takes a moment to show off his hardware at the end of his virtual Boston Marathon, which he ran in Kincardine on Sunday, September 6. Hannah MacLeod/Kincardine News