Jason Ayr of Westfield region’s first finisher before routine of Marathon interrupted by bomb blasts
Bill Iffrig, 78, lies on the ground as police officers react to a second explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Iffrig, of Lake Stevens, Wash., was running his third Boston Marathon and near the finish line when he was knocked down by one of two bomb blasts. (AP Photo/The Boston Globe, John Tlumacki) Purchase photo reprints »
A Boston Marathon competitor and Boston police run from the area of an explosion near the finish line in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/MetroWest Daily News, Ken McGagh) MANDATORY CREDIT Purchase photo reprints »
People react as an explosion goes off near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions went off at the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Boston Globe, David L Ryan) MANDATORY CREDIT Purchase photo reprints »
Boston Marathon runner Russell Clifford of Marlborough, Mass. walks past SWAT officers near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts (AP Photo/Winslow Townson) Purchase photo reprints »
BOSTON — Before 2:50 p.m. Monday, several Hampshire County runners were having a generally happy spring day at the 117th running of the annual Boston Marathon. The ups and downs were familiar stories: weather not too bad, crowds great, personal accomplishment welcome.
The two explosions that hit the finish area shortly after 2:50, killing at least three people and injuring more than 140, put the race itself into a perspective that displaced most of the individual stories of success in the event.
The first finisher from western Massachusetts was Jason Ayr, 25, of Westfield, who placed 51st overall in 2 hours, 27 minutes, 30 seconds.
Nine minutes after Ayr was the first finisher with Hampshire County ties, 25-year-old Brad Mish, formerly of Hadley and now living in Boston. Mish covered the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Copley Square in 2:36:23, which placed him 234th overall in the field of nearly 28,000 who started – and 17,584 who officially finished before the Boston police and the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) volunteers shut down the race and ushered remaining runners off the course rather than allow them to continue to Boylston Street and the finish.
Now a member of the BAA team, Mish ran while recovering from a stress fracture.
“So he didn’t run hard,” said his father, Jeff Mish, who followed his son across the finish line less than an hour later, in 3:24:06. Brad Mish’s time was more than five minutes slower than his performance four years ago when, as a senior at Holy Cross, he set that university’s marathon record at 2 hours, 31 minutes and was also the New England collegiate champion at 5,000 meters.
Mitchell Isaacson, 26, of Amherst, a University of Massachusetts geoscience graduate student who ran cross-country at the University of Wisconsin in Stevens Point, had other reasons for approaching Boston conservatively. Two days earlier, Isaacson had been in Tempe, Ariz., competing in the U.S. National Collegiate Triathlon Championships as a member of the UMass triathlon team. There, he raced a 1-mile swim followed by a hard 40-kilometer bicycle stage and then a 10-kilometer run.
Running Boston for the first time, Isaacson clocked a time of 2:56:48. He had hoped to finish in about 2:50, but considering his pre-race activities, within seven minutes was close enough.
“It was a great race on a good day,” he said, before the explosions. “I ran negative splits.” Negative splits are rare at Boston, where the biggest uphill sections are in the second half.
Just behind Isaacson was Aaron Judge, 33, of South Hadley, who reached Copley Square in 2:56:56. The next finisher from South Hadley was A.J. O’Donald, 43, in 3:57:21.
Marathon veteran Nick Hopley, 44, of Amherst, completed the race for the 20th time, finishing in 2:59:12. “I felt good most of the way,” said Hopley as he stood in the finishing chute. “I held my pace until about 22 miles – and then I lost it. I wasn’t sure I was going to break three hours. I was breathing harder, going slower. I went from running 6:45 per mile to 7:15 or 7:30 per mile, and it was feeling twice as hard.”
To train for a marathon, Hopley said he likes to do at least five training runs of 20 miles apiece or more, but this year he managed only two workouts at that distance. “I was sick in March, so I missed some training,” he said. “All in all, there’s nothing I would have done differently.”
The next finisher from Amherst was Bryn Geffert, 45, in 3:10:28. Following Geffert were Martha Berrouard, 46, of Granby, in 3:16:57, and Allison Guerin, 31, of Haydenville, in 3:17:41.
Donna Utakis, 45, of Amherst, a frequent contender in ultramarathons — races longer than the marathon’s 26 miles, 385 yards and sometimes as long as 100 miles — finished in 3:36:49. Just behind her was another marathon veteran, David Martula, 68, of Hadley, in 3:41:56. Both were part of the crowd of Valley runners who rode to Hopkinton on a bus chartered by the Greater Springfield Harriers early in the morning and returned at the end of a very long day. Melissa Briery, of Hadley, finished in 3:42:01.
The first Northampton finisher was Matthew Weissinger, 26, in 2:46:56. The next two were Bruce Finke, 52, in 3:34:48, and Rachael Colacino, 37, in 3:49:02. Mega-marathoner William Romito, 59, of Leeds, who has run nearly 200 marathons, finished this one in 3:38:57.
Romito’s frequent training partner, 55-year-old Cheryl Abert of Belchertown, finished in 3:54:22. Also from Belchertown, and a few minutes ahead of Abert, was Nancy Cook, 48, in 3:40:31.
One of the strongest women in the field was Sarah Romain, 26, of Easthampton, who finished in 3:01:38. Elena Massa-Musiak, 30, also of Easthampton, completed the distance in 3:40:18.
Fifty-year-old Peter Lacey of Sunderland finished in 3:48:30. Sara Smiarowski, 33, also of Sunderland, finished in 4:04:18. As one of the last runners to complete the race before the horrifying explosions, Tanya Rapinchuk of Cummington crossed the line in 4:08:13.
The bombings also meant that several thousand runners completed only 20 or 25 miles before officials closed the course. Among them was Sydney Henthorn of Northampton.
“There was maybe half a mile to the finish,” said Henthorn, 54, who was running her first marathon. “I was sort of at the head of a pack, ready to see if I could get under 4:10, and they told us to stop. They didn’t give a lot information about what was wrong. Where we were, we had no water, everyone was standing there, shivering in the cold – but the people around us were great. Some gave clothes to the runners. Someone gave me a Polar Fleece to wear. Then people saw photos on the Internet.”
As far as her own effort was concerned, however, Henthorn said she was satisfied. “I started way back, and so I continued to pass people. It was a great first marathon. It goes in the book of stories.”