Boston 2005 Reflections
By Ernest Joseph
This year at Boston, few of us teamed up and participated in team competition. In Women’s open division, Sarah Muhlbradt, Allison Schulman, Carol Guzinski, Jessica Hanley and Laura Dimarino finished in 21st place and 3rd as a NY State team. In Women’s masters division, Miriam Kaminer, Lucia Chapman and Olga Carriel were the first NY team to finish in 26th place overall. In Men’s masters division, Pat Parietti, Gokhan Ozuner, Nick Arcuri and Ernest Joseph were 3rd NY team to finish in 57th place.
For a lot of runners, the Boston experience is really more about qualifying for it than actually running it. But for us, that was not enough. Our training over the winter was geared towards racing Boston, and not just running it as “last 26.2 miles of our journey.” Those cold winter workouts in single digit temperatures, often in the dark running around the track with head lamp had prepared us well to race the race.
Sarah Muhlbradt was our first finisher in 3:19:31, followed by Allison “Ally-cat” Schulman in 3:34:30. Sarah and Carol are Penn State alumni and they trained together with Allison during the winter. As a 22 year old, Allie had qualified for Boston in her first ever 26.2 mile endeavor in NYC marathon 2004, and the idea of running another race of this magnitude 5 ½ months later seemed like the next logical challenge to tackle. “Some finish lines just mean more than others. It’s What Happens in Boston.” Was the BAA promoted phrase displayed during the Patriot Day Weekend. In Allie’s own words: “If I had heard this poignant phrase from above prior to my training and race preparation reaching its climax, I may have just shrugged it off as a mere marketing scheme of the BAA to promote its featured event of the 109th Boston Marathon. However, as the days got closer to April 18th, I honestly became astonished at the vast degree of truth that emerged within this catchy phrase. Regardless of how much pain, exhaustion, and discomfort I felt as the finish line came into sight, an undeniable numbing sensation rushed through my body as I was finally making the long awaited momentous left turn onto Boylston Street. Despite knowing my legs were shacking, quads were burning, shoulders and back were slugging towards the pavement, and my signature running form of high elbows were so high they probably could have knocked anyone out within five feet, this finish line experience stood its claim as holding the highest magnitude of glory and accomplishment. Perhaps the actual appearance of my running posture and physical fatigue were not quite the eloquent, swift, cheek to cheek smiling experience I had imagined in my head during months of training on the streets, trails, and track, but nevertheless, for that moment in my life the deafening cheers from the crowd and the plethora of support lining both sides of the streets truly exemplified the Boston Marathon finish line as something like none other!”
Ernest followed in 3:35:51, enjoying the course and the spectator’s response to “Ernie” penned on his arms. Pat ran 3:42:32 and Gokhan finished in 3:49:57. Olga; whose running potential is yet to be determined, ran strong and steady in 3:50:15, best marathon time in her second marathon ever. Lucia who finished in 4:00:14 is our new addition to the team via Taconic Road Runners for this special mission of completing women’s master’s team. Thank you Lucia for being a team member and hope you will enjoy being part of our team as well. Nick was in the race under an invitational entry from Verizon Wireless. Despite not achieving his personal goal, Nick had a great time at Boston. In his own words: “who would turn away a chance to run in the Boston Marathon? I'd like to blame my difficulties on the heat, but who knows it could have also been the hills of Newton or any of a number of reasons that left me about 35 minutes shy of my goal of breaking four hours. The dinner the night before with some of the team members in the North End was wonderful and so were the spectators along the race (despite their obsession with the Red Sox game that was being played that day). In addition to the orange slices, bananas, wet sponges and paper towels, they provided all the encouragement a runner needs to make it to the finish.”
Miriam Kaminer, our senior-most member at age 64, ran an impressive 4:39:52. We hope to hear from Miriam about her past running experiences in the future.
The marathon is a distance far enough to test the human limits under all conditions. One aspect we did not have control over is how we will feel that morning. Carol Guzinski, who had run 3:02 Disney marathon in January finishing among top 3 females, was nursing injury and decided to just finish this race which she did in 4 hours. Like Miriam, Carol has been an inspiration to us all and we are glad she is part of the team. Laura and Jess had some ailments to deal with in the race but managed to finish side by side in 4:08:16. In Jess and Laura’s words: “We didn't quite run the time we were hoping for, but we were very glad that we had each other to lean on in the latter stages of the race. The minute or two differences in our times wasn’t worth leaving each other. This marathon ended up being more then a race; it was a sign of friendship.”
Two weeks prior to the spring marathons, the following quote from Rolf Arands was sent to spring marathoners for inspiration: “There will come a point in the race, when you alone will need to decide. You will need to make a choice. Do you really want it? You will need to decide."
Little did we know how true it would turn out to be during our journey from Hopkinton, MA to the hub in downtown Boston. Some of us who were fortunate to have a good day decided to take advantage and finished strong, while some who were not as fortunate, decided to run with pride, putting friendship ahead of individual times. It truly was a team effort.