The Morning After!

Posted: April 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

Yesterday was the perfect conclusion to a long and difficult training season.  After enduring challenging weather for most of the last month months, the weather was as ideal as anyone could have hoped.  A strong tailwind produced a world record (Goeffrey Mutai 2:03:02 from Kenya).  Ryan Hall, the top contender from the United States finished an impressive 4th with a time of 2:04:58; the fastest time ever by an American.  Two American women finished in the Top 5 (Desiree Davila was 2nd in 2:22:38 and Kara Goucher was 5th in 2:24:52).  It’s amazing that Kara’s first child was born less than 8 months ago and she’s already returned to this level of running.

But the real story of the day was the Marathon Coalition runners.  I enjoyed meeting most of the runners and the staff from the 7 charity teams in the Athlete’s Village.  The excitement and anticipation were palpable.  I met several of the runners I’ve been training virtually for the first time and tried to offer as much advice and insight as possible.  I stayed as long as I possibly could before convincing a bus driver to drive me back to my car outside of Hopkinton.  I enjoyed chatting with her but my mind was distracted with thoughts of my TEAM!

Not being able to run this year because of a tender hamstring was a HUGE blessing.  Nothing I could have accomplished on my own compared with how special yesterday was.  I drove to Wellesley while listening to the marathon on WBZ radio and arrived just in time to see the last wheelchairs and minutes before the elite women arrived.  Kim Smith had a sizeable lead on the pack but I later learned she twisted her ankle/foot on the Newton Hills and was forced to abandon.  Kara Goucher was tucked nicely behind a huge pack of African women…I thought that was extremely strategic. 

It wasn’t long before two of the Marathon Coalition runners passed through and my day of coaching began in earnest.  Martin Kon and Paul Crockett, both proudly flying the colors of TEAM Jumpstart, ran 2:57:57 and 3:09:32 respectively.  For those that keep statistics, Martin ran 6:48 per mile pace and Paul ran 7:14 pace…very impressive!

I spent the next 5 hours offering encouragement and support to the entire Marathon Coalition TEAM of runners.  Most were in great shape and ready to tackle the remaining 11 miles.  A few were in extreme difficulty but managed to finish.  Their efforts were the most incredible of the day.  The most challenging miles of the Boston Marathon occur after Mile 15 so their ability to finish personifies the spirit of the marathoner.  I’m so proud of the entire Marathon Coalition runners!

Arriving at the Westin and observing a crowded room of runners, families and friends was the only place in the world I wanted to be.  It warmed my heart and made me so proud when the room erupted in applause with the arrival of each finisher.  There’s no better picture than a runner that’s just completed the Boston Marathon standing in the doorway, wrapped in a mylar blanket with a salt and sweat stained faced, their finishers medal around their neck with the look of achievement on their face and their entourage of supporters proudly standing behind them.  Those moments will be forever etched in my memory and heart!

The runners will awake to the sense of incredible accomplishment.  Oh yeah, they may also awake wondering if a little league baseball team took batting practice on their legs.  But they will also awake with a different view of the world and themselves.  Once the last remnants of pain disappear from their legs, they will begin to wonder ‘what is next?’  It may never be another marathon but I hope it’s something as significant…something that involves committing and challenging themselves in a journey of serving others.

If so, my role as their coach will be successful!

  1. Hi Coach Rick, You were so right it was an abousolutely wonderful experience and certainly a birthday I will never forget. You really made my day when you found me hobbling to my ride. I was so happy to see you and met your lovely family. I cannot tell you what all your blogs, emails and sincere words of encouragement have meant to me over the last several months. You have trully made a difference and I do hope our paths cross again. I do plan on running another marathon again. So you have not seen the last of me on that course. Thank you so much for everything.

  2. Hello Donna,

    I am also glad that we spotted you after the marathon. I’m so impressed by all that you’ve done to be able to complete the Boston Marathon. I am glad that you’ve enjoyed my blog and benefitted from my e-mails and words of encouragement.

    I’m really proud of you, Donna!

    Your Coach,


  3. Paul Crockett says:

    Coach Rick,

    I just had a chance to read through your posts from the weekend. The feature in your local newspaper was an appropriate tribute to all you have done for your runners. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience this Boston Marathon as part of the Marathon Coalition team and to have benefited from your advice and inspiration. I hope to stay in touch and participate in another marathon with you and the coalition.

    Thank you!


  4. Hello Paul,

    Thank you so much for your response. I’m so glad that you’ve had a positive experience training with the Marathon Coalition. I’m so impressed with your 3:09:32 (7:14 pace per mile).

    I would greatly appreciate staying in touch with you and having another opportunity to coach you next year. I’m confident that you can break 3 hours!

    Your Coach,


  5. Lori B. says:

    Coach Rick, I’m already suffering from withdrawal. Saturday mornings won’t be the same. There was comfort knowing no matter how the week unfolded I could count on the alarm going off on Saturdays and just after 8am, without fail, you’d uplift my and many others’ spirits, instilling confidence, warming our hearts and perhaps most impressive–propelling us enthusiastically out into the elements! Thanks again! LB

  6. Martin Kon says:


    This was by far my favorite of the 9 marathons I’ve run…I can’t think of anything that I could have done better to prepare or any better conditions/crowd/support one could have wished for. Simply awesome experience!

    And I’m sure your suggestion to me to work on picking up the pace at the end of long runs to get the legs used to performing when tired played a big role in running sub-3 for the first time. Beat my previous PB by almost 6 minutes. Thanks!!


  7. Hello Martin,

    Your 2:57 at Boston was extremely impressive! I’m glad you had such a positive experience.

    Thank you for all that you’ve done to support the Marathon Coalition!

    Your Coach,


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