Meyer and Westover take crowns.
Written By: Mario Fraioli
Standing out in her yellow singlet on the left side of the TV screen, Heidi Westover of Walpole, New Hampshire was right in the mix during the early miles of Monday’s Boston Marathon.
Westover hit the 5K mark in 17:12, just two seconds off the women’s lead pack. She was the second American through the halfway point in Wellesley in 1:16:35 – three seconds behind Lomita, California’s Mary Akor – and eventually went on to finish as the top New Englander and fourth American in 2:39:14, good for 18th overall in the women’s race.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Westover said of being the first New Englander across the finish line. “I’m very excited about that. I’m a fourth and fifth grade teacher and I’m excited to go home and share it with my kids.”
Westover, who represented the United States at the World Half Marathon Championship last October, came into the race with a personal best of 2:35:04, set last May at the Vermont City Marathon. After a fast start, Westover hit the halfway point ahead of schedule but fell off pace heading into the Newton Hills. Despite some disappointment with her time, Westover was happy with her aggressive effort on Monday and walked away from the race with no regrets.
“That was the goal,” Westover said of trying to better her previous personal best. “It’s disappointing that I didn’t get that but there’s always opportunity again. I went out strong and was just hoping for the best all the way through. If I kept it a little slower in the beginning I would have had a little bit more for the end, which would have been helpful.”
Falmouth, Maine’s Sheri Piers, the top American woman at last year’s Boston, finished just over a minute behind Westover in 2:40:46 to place second amongst New Englanders. The 38-year old was the third American across the finish line and 22nd overall in the women’s race. Michelle Sarney of West Bridgewater, Massachusetts was the third New Englander across the finish line, placing 40th amongst women in 2:52:26.
In the men’s race for local bragging rights, 26-year-old law school student Lucas Meyer of Ridgefield, Connecticut made his first marathon a memorable one, crossing the finish line in 2:21:29, good for 24th overall.
“This was my first marathon so I didn’t have too many expectations,” said Meyer, a member the Boston Athletic Association racing team. “I wanted to run 2:16 to 2:18 and I was right on pace through halfway but I crashed hard the last eight miles. It was a tough day but a good experience.”
Meyer, a former cross country and track American at Yale who qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials in the steeplechase, took advantage of his association with the BAA and relative proximity to the race course to go for a few training runs along Boston’s revered roads. Despite some familiarity with the terrain, Newton’s unforgiving hills did a number on Meyer’s unsuspecting legs.
“I came up to Boston three times for long runs or a hard workout on the course,” Meyer said. “I saw the course, so no excuses, but my quads just were not prepared.”
Scott Rowe of Dover, New Hampshire was the next New England male across the finish line, placing 35th overall in 2:24:34. David Bedoya, a 33 year old from Somerville, Massachusetts representing the Greater Boston Track Club, rounded out the top three New Englanders, running 2:25:19 to place 37th.[sig:MarioFraioli]