Johnson beats Boston Marathon heat

Manistee’s Christa Johnson poses with son Alec after completing the Boston Marathon on Monday. (Courtesy photo)

Manistee’s Christa Johnson said it wasn’t a day for personal bests.

Though still managing to clock hers at Monday’s Boston Marathon, she didn’t hesitate to let a few slow seconds tick by before crossing the finish line.

“I knew my son was ahead of me at the end in a special seating area with some of the most prestigious people in running,” she said in a phone interview Monday evening. “I was a few seconds slower because I actually stopped to greet him and everybody in the stands. I wasn’t worried about the time.”

In her third trip to the world’s oldest annual marathon, Johnson clocked 3:45:56 — a personal record at the event — and did so with 1-year-old son Alec looking on with family friends.

The two were guests of Greg Meyer, the last American male to win the Boston Marathon (1983), who met Johnson nearly a year ago on the plane ride back from an IronMan competition.

“We got to meet all the bigwigs of the Boston Marathon, of Runner’s World,” Johnson said of this year’s trip. “Little Manistee was well represented in the celebrity runners’ world this weekend. Even Alec got VIP seating access, which was really the coolest thing for me today.”

Johnson, who competes annually in a number of marathons and IronMan events, ran Boston for the first time in 2009 and again in 2010 before skipping last year’s event due to the birth of Alec.

Monday marked an historic day for the 116-year-old, 26.2-mile marathon as temperatures flirted with reaching 90 degrees. The men’s race was the second-slowest since 1985 while 2,000 of the nearly 22,500 participants were reported as having received some medical attention. Nearly 120 were hospitalized.

“They did something pretty unprecedented, allowing you to defer your registration to next year if you didn’t start the race,” said Johnson. “They were actually encouraging people not to race today because of the heat.”

More than 4,000 who registered opted not to run because of the heat.

Johnson, 39, however, decided to compete and placed 920th in the female division, ages 18-39.

“It took a lot to get here, and as a veteran of IronMans and running in the heat, I stuck with my plan and ran just over a 3:45. I would have done a 3:30 to 3:45 without the heat — that’s what I was trained to do.”

Johnson’s experience at the event was notably different than her two previous trips, namely because of the company of her young son as well as the credentials the two received by being guests of Meyer’s. But, competing her third time also gave Johnson a sense of calm.

“Coming back as a seasoned veteran, per se, I felt more relaxed,” she said. “The course was beautiful. The director had extra aid stations, and the people lining the course that owned property had fountains and ice for us, so it really turned out to be a big community-supported event by everyone trying to help out the runners in the heat.

“No one was going to typically get their best Boston on this particular day, but it was still really beautiful. I think the overall tone seemed to be that it was going to be a fun run.”

 

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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