Boston Marathon, 17th April 2023

With the London Marathon looming this week, Mark Anderson took himself away to America for a different challenge. He had this to say:

“April 2023 marked the sixth anniversary of the beginning of my running career, and my conversion from a couch potato to a running obsessive. It seems appropriate that I was able to celebrate it by taking part in one of the Holy Grails of running – The Boston Marathon. 2023 also marked the tenth anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing and the event was particularly poignant for the city as a whole.

150 yellow school buses (a wonder to behold in themselves) transported the 25,000+ runners out to the start in Hopkinton, 26 miles west of Boston, where the weather was cold and overcast with a strong threat of rain. The start was rather underwhelming – a half mile walk from the athletes’ village – suddenly those around me started trotting, I did likewise, and all of a sudden we crossed the timing mats and were off.

A headwind and gradually dampening weather was offset by fantastic support all along the route – despite the conditions, there were cheers all the way. At about halfway the course goes through the all girls Wellesley College, where the students line the route to generate the famed Scream Tunnel – you could hear them from a half mile out and kisses were on offer to spur runners on.

I came through 20 miles in 2h23m, hoping for a 3h10m time. I negotiated the hills of Newton (including the famous Heartbreak Hill) reasonably well but at 23 miles my resolve waivered and I began to plumb the depths of my soul as my pace faltered, not helped by torrential rain. After what seemed like an eternity, I took the famous “right onto Hereford, left onto Boyleston” and the finish line was in sight – as I crossed it I was name checked by the announcer – “Mark Anderson from Newcastle upon Tyne, Uk – well done – go and have a cup of tea” – needless to say I opted for something stronger!

A finish time of 3.13.09 (or 2 hours and 73 minutes) was a PB by over a minute and nearly 12 minutes inside next year’s qualifying time. I consider myself fortunate to have run one the world’s great races. It was not something I ever thought I would do, particularly 6 years ago when I would break out in a sweat reaching for the remote control.”

Well done Mark on your brilliant run!

Laurie Johnson -