Dumfries Running Club members Fiona and Kerry Jardine traveled to Boston, USA, to run the 126th Boston marathon, held on April 18.
The pair were relieved to finally attend the event after originally planning to run the race in 2020 before Covid-19 emerged.
Returning to its traditional American state holiday Patriot’s Day schedule for the first time since 2019, the historic Boston marathon was back to its full glory, welcoming more than 30,000 participants from 122 countries.
To begin, all marathon runners boarded American-style school buses to the town of Hopkinton, where the race began in a series of wave starts. Unlike any city marathon the pair had run before, the 26.2-mile scenic route back to Boston was beautiful, lined with countryside, forests, and small bodies of water, all while passing through small towns of Ashland, Framingham, Natick and Wellesley.
Although beautiful, the course offered no shade from the strong sun and by the halfway mark it began to get very warm and the sunburn began to take hold. Thousands of loud and enthusiastic Bostonians proudly lined the streets from start to finish generously handing out ice pops, sweets, drinks and cold sponges all serving as vital moments of relief and distraction from the heat and tiredness.
Just as runners’ legs begin to get tired the race reaches the town of Newton where participants encounter a series of hills before finally reaching the biggest climb the famous heartbreak hill, near Boston College at 21 miles, before the long 5.2 miles back into Boston and across the finish line on Boylston Street.
Somewhat disappointed with her run time of 5 hours 23 minutes, Fiona was relieved to cross the finish line and was proud to receive her Boston medal and Abbotts six-star major marathon medal, with her daughter Kerry present. Kerry was also proud of her own personal achievement of running the entirety of the marathon distance for the first time, coming across the finish line at 4 hours 59 minutes.
Abbotts six-star major marathon
Fiona began her journey towards completing the six Abbotts major marathons by chance after entering the London marathon ballot for the first time in 2015. Due to London being notoriously difficult to gain a ballot place, Fiona was very surprised to receive an entry on her first attempt .
Having already run the 2013 and 2014 EMF Edinburgh marathons, Fiona felt confident in taking up this new challenge and successfully completed the London marathon in 2015, with the support of her daughter Kerry and son Liam in a personal best time of 4 hours 9 minutes. Having experienced the hype and excitement of a large-scale marathon Fiona quickly began looking for her next challenge and soon ended up booking and running her hardest major di lei, the New York marathon 2016 with a time of 4 hours 15 minutes.
This kick-started a seven-year quest to complete all six major marathons – London, Berlin, Chicago, New York, Tokyo and Boston. After watching her mum di lei complete London and New York Fiona’s daughter Kerry was inspired to join her on the six-star journey allowing them to attend Fiona’s remaining four majors together. Firstly Chicago in 2017, where they experienced record high temperatures of 28 degrees Celsius but Fiona still managed to finish in a time of 4 hours 18 minutes.
They then moved on to the Berlin marathon in 2018, Fiona’s favorite to date as she felt it was the most entertaining, as she fondly remembers no sooner passing one group of dancers, singers, or a brass band before being able to hear the next one ahead. This made the 4 hours 25 minutes it took Fiona to complete the race feel much shorter. Their easiest, flattest major Tokyo came next in 2019 and saw Fiona finish in 4 hours 18 minutes.
After succeeding in completing a marathon each year Fiona originally planned to run her final major marathon, Boston with Kerry in 2020. However, Covid-19 saw the marathon rescheduled various times until finally this year alongside her daughter Fiona was pleased to finally travel to the USA to complete her six-star journey by completing Boston 2022 in 5 hours 23 minutes.
Crossing her final marathon major finish line Fiona was proud to mark the end of a seven-year running journey by receiving her Abbotts major marathon medal and she hopes to see her daughter receive the same medal in the future after she completed her two remaining majors, London, and New York.
Fiona and Kerry are both looking forward to a much-deserved rest with no long-distance runs for a while before planning their next marathon adventure.
Newcomers and beginners
If you are inspired by Fiona and Kerry’s exertions, training for newcomers and beginners is held on Monday evenings at Dumfries Sports Club at 6.30 where runners are guided through distances from two to six miles. Further information can be found on www.dumfriesrunningclub.org