Heavy rains poured down on Terrace runner Brent Webb as he ran with thousands of others in the renowned Boston Marathon on Monday.
Rains were coupled with cold temperatures between 4-6 degrees and high winds whipped around at 25-28 mph. Times Magazine said the gruelling conditions were among the coldest in three decades.
“The wind just whips around and then the rain is pelting like pellets at you, and it comes through, right through your jacket right onto your skin. It just blows right through,” Webb said, describing one of the worst moments of the race.
The wind only picked up and got worse in the second half of the run, Webb said.
But besides the weather and some cramping he experienced in his calves for the last 10K, Webb says he felt really good.
“The fitness side of it was the best I’ve ever had,” he said, saying he didn’t ever really hit “the wall” and he wasn’t puffing much even on the hills.
“I had some cramping in my lower calf… not sure if it was the downhill, or the cold and wet… but I couldn’t get my speed up after the last 10K… I haven’t experienced that kind of discomfort before,” he said. “I just couldn’t get back on pace.”
But Webb finished the 42K race in 3:26:03, short of his 3:20:00 goal but much faster than the average 4:20:00 men’s marathon time.
And though he wanted to finish in the top 5,000, Webb says that he’s happy with the result when considering all the factors.
“Yes, I’m happy, given the conditions and the cramping, the cramping really slowed me down… so I’m happy yeah,” he said.
Webb says the race was slow and insanely congested for the first 5K, but improved after that.
As for Heartbreak Hill, the notorious half-mile hill at the 20-mile mark, Webb said it wasn’t a big deal for him.
“I kept waiting for the hills, you know? And ‘okay, this is a bit of rise, but I don’t see a hill.’ And then I was going up another rise, and I thought, ‘I wonder if this is heartbreak hill?'” he said, adding that shortly after he spotted a poster on a lamp post with a heartbreak symbol.
“It just wasn’t that big of a deal,” he said, adding that fitness was probably part of it.
After cresting the last hill, winds significantly picked up, and Webb says he drafted a few tall runners which helped with the windy blasts.
Crossing the finish line was awesome, Webb said.
“That’s a tremendous feeling. It’s wild, the cowbells and the cheers, yeah, very cool,” he said.
The crowds were insane, he said.
“It met every expectation and beyond,” he said, adding that the cheering and everything was so loud at times, especially near Wesley College where a group of female college students were shouting applause.
“The girls at Wesley College, they were loud,” he said. “Ho man!”
“It was wonderful… and when you get in the last 5K, the crowd is huge! And they are loud! It’s really… it’s the best crowd I have ever marathoned with,” said Webb.
And though Webb doesn’t expect to go again because of the cost, he says it was the best running experience he’s ever had.
“The whole town, you can go anywhere and just talk to people, and they see your jacket and they say, ‘Oh, your running?!'” he said.
Early impressions from Webb two days before the race, revealed the same thrill about the atmosphere.
“Runners with Boston swag everywhere, thousands and thousands. For a big city where people never talk to each other or strangers, you talk running to everyone. It’s a runners dream,” he said.
Two other Terrace runners, Murray Warner and Sherrie Hamer, also ran the Boston Marathon this year, both finishing despite bad conditions.