Sixteen runners from Westford competed in the 126th annual Boston Marathon yesterday.
This occasion marked the first time since 2019 that the race was held on its traditional Patriots’ Day schedule, after it was canceled in 2020 and postponed to October in 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Per order of the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), who has organized the race each year since its establishment in 1897, all runners were required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to participate in the race.
This year’s Boston Marathon also marked nine years and three days since the bombing attack during the 2013 race, which killed three spectators and left 264 runners and spectators in need of immediate medical attention. This attack and the pandemic were the only two instances in history where the race had to be shut down before it was over.
However, with fully vaccinated athletes and numerous police and medical officials, the return of the Boston Marathon was met with great success, with 30,000 individuals from across the city, state, and around the world came out to attend the race yesterday. The race included runners from all 50 states as well as 120 countries.
Among the runners were sixteen Westford residents, eager to compete again after waiting nearly two years for the race to return to normal.
“COVID-19 didn’t affect my training and preparation for the Boston Marathon at all,” said Westford resident and marathon runner Luping Quan. “Because of COVID-19, I worked from home during last year and this Spring, so I got more time to train.”
Quan competed in his third Boston Marathon this year, finishing the race with an impressive time of 3:04:38, his new personal record. He describes how despite the hardships brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the weather has made more of an impact on his training for the race than the pandemic ever did.
“The Boston Marathon is in the Spring except for the 2021 Boston Marathon, so the training for the Boston Marathon is in the winter,” Quan said. “With the cold and the snow in the New England area, the winter training session could be really tough.”
“I trained in below zero temperatures on winter mornings. I ran in snow sometimes,” Quan said. “One time, I slipped and fell down in the snow. My face, my hands and knees were scratched on the pavement, blood ran down my face to my neck,” Quan said. “Runners need really strong will to train for the Boston Marathon.”
With sixteen runners participating this year, Westford had some of the highest participation in this year’s race of any community in the Merrimack Valley. Due to the sunny weather with high temperatures in the mid-50s, runners could not have asked for better conditions for the race.
Although it felt great for Quan to be back competing in his first Boston Marathon since prior to the pandemic, he is determined to keep pushing harder next year in order to break his personal record.
“My time of 3:04:38 is completely within my expectation. I think I can push a little harder.” Quan said. “I will be running in the 2023 Boston Marathon, and I hope I can break the three hours mark next year.”
All runners from Westford and their finishing times included:
Peter Desforge, 63, 3:41:11; Cameron Dumais, 27, 4:10:49; Aaron Febbi, 27, 3:54:48; Amanda Fletemeyer, 39, 5:34:15; Brian Fredriksen, 37, 4:22:28; Scott Graham, 63, 4:47:55; Jessica Libby, 24, 4:51:27; Gerard Ottaviano, 63, 6:13:53; Mark Ottesen, 53, 3:14:59; Luping Quan, 52, 3:04:38; Alison Silva, 36, 4:57:04; Matt Story, 48, 4:00:42; Brian Studer, 42, 3:09:48; Lisa Studer, 42, 4:01:47; Jill Trotter, 50, 3:51:14; Xianrong Wang, 40, 3:04:13.
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