BOSTON, MA - The weather was less than ideal for participants in Monday’s Boston Marathon. Cold temperatures and rain mixed together with a bone-chilling wind to put a bit of a damper on this historic race. However, for Milltown’s Kyle Price, the tough conditions were an afterthought.
“The race was unlike anything I’ve ever done in my long career,” Price said in an interview following the April 16 race. “The history of the event draws so many people to it and it definitely showed despite the miserable conditions on race day. There was a nearly constant wall of people on either side of the road cheering for the entirety of the course. I’ve never had anything even come close to that type of crowd support. It was pretty surreal at times. It really helped me get through the cold wind and rain and keep pushing myself.”
The race route support and Price’s perseverance helped the Spotswood High School assistant track coach and substitute teacher to finish his inaugural Boston Marathon with an impressive time of 2:40.49. The former Charger placed 154 in a field of 30,000 runners.
Unlike other marathons, runners must participate in one of the certified Boston Marathon qualifiers and finish within a certain time to be considered. The qualifying time for males ages 18 to 34 is three hours and five minutes. Price qualified for the marathon by competing in a race called Run the Loop in September with some friends. The Pennsylvania race was Price’s first ever marathon. He finished it with a time of 2:28.12. From there, Price stuck to his regular running schedule to prepare for the April race.
“My training schedule isn’t what a typical marathon competitor would do,” Price explained. “I typically race shorter distances, mile up to 5k, with a few longer ones thrown in. So I was just doing my normal training regimen of seven days a week, two of those days being workouts, and making sure I was running 50-60 miles a week. My Sunday long runs got up to two hours long though in order to prepare for the marathon.”
Price caught the running bug during his freshmen year at Spotswood High School though he did not begin running distance races until senior year. Currently, he coaches alongside his former coach, Roland D’Orvilliers for boys and girls cross country as well as the school’s winter and spring track teams and is a member of the Garden State Track Club New Balance. The club is New Jersey’s largest running club, boasting more than 1,000 members.
Sunday marked the fifth anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. A moment of silence was held on April 15 as a remembrance to the 2013 act of terrorism that killed three people and injured hundreds.
“The bombing will be in the back of everyone’s head for a while yet I think,” Price said. “But there was never a feeling of unease for me. There were tons of volunteers and armed forces and police presence throughout the course so it was very reassuring.”
Friendly faces that came along for the five-hour trip north also helped make the run special for Price.
“I had a few amazing friends make the trip up to Boston to cheer me and my two training partners on which was a huge,” Price added. “Having them there helped keep me calm pre-race and then trying to pick them out in the crowd was definitely a welcome motivator while I was running.”
Of course, a nicer day would have been icing of the cake for Price and the other participants. However, Mother Nature has been very fickle so far this spring.
“I had a friend there who knew a guy that has done the race almost 30 years now and he said this year was the worst conditions he’s ever seen with the combination of cold temperatures, heavy rain and heavy wind,” Price continued. “There were people dropping out all over the place, even a few of the elites didn’t finish. I was pretty hypothermic at the finish myself. Though the rain and wind distracted me so much I didn’t really notice the hills near the end of the course. I pretty much climbed Heartbreak Hill without realizing I had done it. It also allowed me to place a lot higher than I normally would have with the time I ran.”
Heartbreak Hill is legendary for Boston Marathon participants. The incline begins just after the stores on Center Street at around the 20 and a half mile mark and rises for a half-mile incline that concludes at Hammond Street. After the climb, racers get a bit of a break with a half-mile stretching downhill.
Price’s friend who ran the race as well finished in 27th place with a time of 2.32.
“We both passed a ton of people in the finishing miles that were hurting from the conditions more than we were,” Price said.
However, despite the rain, wind and cold, Price still managed to smile, which caught the attention of Pamela Smith. Smith was one of the huge number of people along the 26.2-mile course, cheering on the runners and taking pictures as they passed her at the six-mile mark. She captured Price during the race, surprised that he was so cheerful in the harsh conditions.
"As hard as it was to stand and watch I’d do it all again and cheer louder and harder," Smith said via email.
Price definitely appreciated the effort of Smith and the others cheering him on, helping to make the race even more memorable for him.