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College of Law’s Richard Powell 1L Completes Boston Marathon in 2:48:48 - 412th overall

Posted on Tuesday 4/26/2016
Richard Powell running.

College of Law student Richard Powell 1L, recently completed his fifth Boston Marathon in a time of 2 hours, 48 minutes and 48 seconds, 412th overall of 26,639 finishers. The following is his report from the race.

Written by Richard Powell 1L

The race started warm, at roughly 60 degrees, without shade or cloud cover and a light breeze. The atmosphere was jovial at the start. I found two former teammates from the All Marine Running Team to start with, and given the temperatures, we decided to hold back conservatively for the first eight miles. 

Ashland was controlled, with almost the entire town lining the small stretch of road. The city council both "welcomed" us into, and thanked us for "visiting.” There were many first timers running faster than they probably should have, but we kept pace until the 10K mark. There I pursued a faster pace, enough to separate myself and move into a rhythm to accomplish my estimated 2:50 finish. 

Entering Framingham crowd support was bountiful we ran almost directly under the sun and I felt my skin burn. The spectators started moving off the sidewalks to afford us what little shade was available from the three story buildings. Coming into Natick, the fire department started rigging fans to blow water from their trucks to "mist" runners. It was very appreciated by all. 

There many politically charged signs and funny moments, especially when I arrived at the Wellesley College “Scream Wall.” The women from the college can be heard over half a mile away and it is close to deafening up close. At the far side of Wellesley, the air became more serious. Until then most people were smiling, then the 14 mile mark passed and a majority of smiles disappeared, replaced with determined faces. 

At the expo, I met a volunteer who was lauding my low bib number, and talked about where she would volunteer and spectate. As a joke, she offered me beer at mile 17, by the Newton fire station. I laughed, accepting the offer. It was quite a small goal - having something fun to look forward to at a vital turn in the race. Ultimately, I did not see the volunteer nor the promised beer. Mile 17 was a hard mile, but getting to that point has always been a huge marker - it is less than 10 miles to go, less than an hour left, the hard part was over. On the course, the four major hills, the “Newton Hills,” start at mile 17.5. Getting to Newton was a relief, followed by a gritting of the teeth and re-doubling of commitment to stay on pace. 

For the first hill I put my head down, shortened my steps and was rewarded with a flat crest. The second hill was close, and with the sun overhead, I felt my shoulders turning red. The third hill was small and quick. The neighborhood became dense with spectators coming up to the fourth and final hill: “Heartbreak.” The first time I ran Boston, I was so exhausted, I didn't realize I'd passed Heartbreak. Starting at Mile 20, there was no way to avoid seeing the signs and realizing that Heartbreak Hill was right now. 

I slowed my pace, picked up my feet and kept pushing. It was like outlining - one piece (step) at a time until it's over. At the top, I let out a huge sigh, and welcomed the relaxing downhill. Shortly after, Boston College and hundreds of undergrads cheering appeared, before turning right, then quickly left over train tracks into Brookline. Many spectators were holding Solo cups, and one of the runners in front of me grabbed one, finding that it did *not* contain water, nor Gatorade. At mile 22, the run became mentally taxing with the commuter train running on the left of the course, reminding runners that the option to stop and ride the "T" was possible. 

Approaching Fenway, feeling fatigued after passing the glycogen threshold of 35K, the small bridge by the ballpark felt very steep. Again, I looked to the crowds to distract my feeling of pain, focusing on the energy thousands of spectators were giving off. I heard someone yell something about 'Cuse and the Final Four, took the inspiration and ran with it. 

Turning right after Fenway, by the famous Citgo sign, seeing the 40K banner, I started doing mental math to calculate my finish time and pace. Seeing as I was never great at math to begin with, it took me just under a mile (about six minutes elapsed time), before I realized I would beat my time goal by about a minute. As I made the left onto Boylston Street, I saw the finish line and picked up the pace enough to where I could feel my muscles strain almost to the point of seizure. 

Keeping momentum, leaning forward I moved into the shaded side of the road, keeping my head up and smiling. I passed the site of the second 2013 explosion, then the first and the erected memorial, then the grandstand. It seemed like the finish wasn't getting any closer, but coming across at 2:48:48, all five senses began accepting the stimuli of the moment. Many strong emotions, mostly of achievement that for only the second of five times I've run this race, I did not walk in pain. That in itself was my main goal. Also, for the second time, I got a rather defined burn/tan line from my jersey. 

Post race, I gathered as many free Chewy Bars, protein shakes, bananas, Gatorades and waters as my tired hands could hold as far as met up with my girlfriend, then headed out for a post-race celebration beer at one of the oldest bars in America - the Union Oyster House. In the month prior to the marathon, Samuel Adams brews "26.2 Brew" – a beer with electrolytes and a lower ABV to facilitate runners. After “rehydrating,” we returned to the hotel, collected bags and headed to the airport.

Overall a great race weekend with about half of my time spent writing the LCR paper, the other half taking a mental break by attending the expo on Friday, being a tourist around Boston on Saturday, seeing a Red Sox game Sunday, and racing on Monday.

Next up is representing the College of Law at the Colfax Marathon in Denver, Colorado the weekend finals are over!