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In first Boston Marathon, Williamstown planning board member finishes 20th in age group

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Stephanie Boyd
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Stephanie Boyd

On Monday, more than 25,000 runners from around the world flocked to Massachusetts for the Boston Marathon. Among them was Berkshire County resident Stephanie Boyd. In her first crack at the competition , the 61-year-old Williamstown planning board member placed 20th overall among some 450 people in her age group. WAMC caught up with Boyd today.

BOYD: I must say that Boston and their volunteers were absolutely amazing with all those people. We had to get up early in the morning and pack a bag with clothes for after the race that got dropped off. And then we got on a bus and we go to the athletes’ village, and it was just so amazingly well organized, and just a pleasure to be a part of.

WAMC: Was there a moment at any point along the way where you felt like, wow, I'm really having this quintessential moment at this iconic race here in Massachusetts?

Oh, for sure. You know, you're in this mob of runners at the beginning, you hardly even have room to move, but you eventually get going and space out. And there are so many iconic moments along the race, like near Wellesley College where all the young college students are out screaming. And then there were spots where three or four people from Williamstown were cheering me on. And when you get near the end, you just have this mantra in your head- Like, right on Hereford and left on Boylston, and then you're almost at the finish line. And it's really – I mean, you're exhausted, you feel like crying – but it's just really special to be a part of the day.

Now, I imagine you practice running out here in Western Massachusetts. Where are your Berkshire County spots to go for a run, Stephanie?

Well, I started running seriously during the COVID quarantine, and I love running on trails, which I think was helpful for Boston, because it's a hilly race, so. My favorite run is to go Hopkins Forest, up to the Taconic Ridge, and down Shepherd’s Whale Trail and back home. Training for the marathon, I did more work on the road so I could do some speed work, but I really like to be in the woods.

Now, when it comes to the Boston Marathon route, was there a particular part that sort of took you by surprise, that took you aback either for its challenge or for its beauty or for some other interesting, idiosyncratic reason?

Well, it's a challenging race and that the first half is downhill. I mean, there is some up and down, but overall, it's downhill. And then from mile 16 to mile 21 is a group of hills that end with Heartbreak Hill, that, of course, we've all heard about. So just heading up to that and trying to anticipate how difficult that was going to be- In fact, I was so focused that my husband was standing on the side of the road cheering about two feet away, and I didn't even notice him.

Do you feel like you learned something from this experience?

Well, the overall experience of running has been quite amazing. The first time I did an official marathon was only six months ago in Albany at the Mohawk Hudson marathon and then I did the Philadelphia Marathon last November. And it's just been amazing to me that I could put my mind to something and work at it and, you know, do pretty well. And I hope that maybe is inspiring for other people that might have some physical dreams they want to do, or other things.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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