Still huffing and puffing from the rigors of a 26.2-mile run, Carolyn Fruth began the celebration of a lifetime.
“The whole thing was amazing, people were screaming the whole time,” she said. “Those people were all that kept you going.”
The 44-year-old mother of two had just finished yesterday, April 20, her first-ever Boston Marathon in a time she once thought virtually impossible.
She completed the grueling event in 3:34 about 26 minutes faster than the 4-hour goal she set for herself.
With a 3:38 clocking four months ago at P.F. Chang’s Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon in Phoenix, Fruth qualified for the historic Boston Marathon.
The Rock ’n’ Roll course is considered much faster than Boston because it is flat and without the grueling uphill stretches.
Entering the Boston event, Fruth had trained on Payson’s Airport Hill for the Boston climb up Heartbreak Hill, a task some marathoners have found too tough to conquer.
“Heartbreak Hill lives up to its reputation,” she said. “It was tough.”
However, several downhill stretches in the Newton, Mass. area also took their toll on the Payson runner.
“The downhills got to my quads, they were hurting there,” she said.
Her husband Tim, who was taken back by the sheer number of people entered in and watching the marathon, accompanied Carolyn to the event.
“I never got to see her run,” he said. “Too many people, there are people everywhere.”
While the size of running field was limited to 25,000 qualifiers, an estimated 500,000 spectators jam-packed the route that began in rural Hopkinton and ended in the center of the city near Copley Square and the Boston Public Library.
With the successful completion of the 114-year-old event, Fruth joins Linda Gibson, Gary Kutscher and Cindy Poole as the only Payson runners who have qualified for and finished the Boston Marathon.