Four Ashtabula County residents towed the staring line of the 2021 Boston Marathon on Monday morning in Hopkington and 26.2 miles later crossed the line in Boston after waiting for many months to get their chance at a dream.
“It’s like nothing I’ve ever done before ... The atmosphere in Boston is like nothing else,” said Kenneth Bement, of Roaming Shores, who finished his first Boston Marathon in a time of 4:34 on Monday afternoon.
Bement started running in 2011, due to health problems, and by 2017 decided he wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
“I’ve probably run 10,000 miles getting read for this,” he said
After years of training and earning the qualifying time from a marathon in Buffalo, Bement almost didn’t compete on Monday.
He said he has a pulled groin and an issue with an abdominal muscle and didn’t run much since June but at the last minute decided to run.
Bement said it was a painful day, but is happy he decided to run. He said the running community, including the Northeast Ohio Running Club and the Ashtabula Distance runners, have been very supportive of his efforts.
“It is probably the most dedicated group of people I have ever met,” Bement said.
Steve Locy, also of Roaming Shores and athletic director at Jefferson High School, has run the Boston Marathon many times. On Monday, he finished in a time of 3:16:13, which beat his best Boston time by four minutes.
“Great day for a run with 15,000 of your running friends,” Locy said. “Boston is all about the experience of the moment. Crowd and volunteers are amazing. No matter how fast you run, you are their hero for the day.”
Sharon Nelson, of North Kingsville, is also a multiple time qualifier and ran 4:14:03.
“[Monday] was by far my favorite time here in Boston,” she said. “Having the city come together after everything we have been through with COVID was truly and uplifting experience. The amount of fan support was inspiring. Complete strangers cheering for all of us out there.”
Katherine Huggins, of Ashtabula, finished in 3:24:20 said her training was “not on point” because she thought there was a good chance the marathon would be canceled due to the virus; especially after the Tokyo Marathon was cancelled.
“That being said, I was ecstatic to see that I did as well as I did, and of course, I always feel blessed to run the Boston Marathon regardless of the results,” she said. “In addition, the race was made better by the fact that the Boston Athletic Association did a wonderful job with safety provisions, and also because I got to see my daughter, who was there to support me.”