This year’s record-setting warm temperatures didn’t stop runners from going the distance on Monday on Heartbreak Hill; despite thousands of athletes being sent to the hospital–and one in serious condition–those with a particular dream pushed themselves to the limit of their endurance.
Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop were the first to cross the finish lines in their respective divisions; the two are fellow Kenyans, but Korir graduated from Louisville. Korir is hoping for a chance at the London Olympic games, although he says the Boston Marathon was an amazing victory.
“To me, I think running the Boston Marathon is an Olympic event,” he said. “I don’t care what comes up after this, but I’m really, really happy to win Boston.”
The crowd gathered on the sidewalks had one goal: to keep the runners hydrated and cooled down. As temperatures rose, there wasn’t a cloud in sight to give reprieve from the sun, so fans kept water guns, drinks, and popsicles at the ready. There were also “misting stations” set up to keep the athletes from getting overheated.
Runner Allison Gray, 27, was immensely grateful for the volunteers who helped make the day bearable.
“The crowds have been incredible. They’ve been the best part,” she said. “I want to hug every volunteer and everyone who lives around the course because I don’t think any of us would be making it this far without the extra water stops, the hoses, and the popsicles.’’
The heat was so overwhelming that it caused pre-race advisories, which made several hundred people who had already registered sit out for the day. Race organizers have offered those people a place in next year’s race.