Historically Chilly DRB Doesn’t Deter Runners

Runners who took part in the 122nd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16, endured some of the gnarliest conditions in recent memory as a monsoon-like thunderstorm pummeled runners for the duration of the race.

Twenty-four hours earlier at the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, Mass., runners at the 22nd annual Don’t Run Boston 50K were spared the downpour, but they battled through the coldest DRB in event history with temperatures in the 30s and afternoon snow flurries.

A mix of DRB newcomers and longtime veterans took part in the race on Sunday, April 15, including first-timer Justin Hetherington, 33, of Providence, R.I., and veterans like 58-year-old Jeff List who came back from Anacortes, Wash., to earn his 10th DRB finish. The temperature was in the mid-30s, and it would get colder as the day went on. There were far more runners in tights and jackets than usual; participants were well aware that DRB’s traditional afternoon highs in the 60s – and sometimes well into the 70s – would not happen on this day.

A pack of runners stick together during the first mile of the Don’t Run Boston 50K on Sunday, April 15, at the Blue Hills Reservation. Photo courtesy of Ilya Bass.

Runners started in different waves a few hours apart, as is DRB tradition. For the traditional 8 a.m. group, most of the pack stuck together for the early miles with the veterans who knew the course leading the way. The pack broke up after about eight miles as runners settled into their own paces.

Sharing miles with old and new friends has been a part of the DRB spirit since its beginning, and that was once again the case this year. Justine Cohen, Rich Collins, Dane LeBlanc, Chester Osborne, Norm Sheppard, and Vivien Taylor all spent quite a few miles together and later crossed the finish line in a pack. The same was true for John Correiro, Giles Gregory, Mike Maher, and Kevin Mullen who enjoyed more than 10 hours of quality time on the trails together.

The weather got colder as the race wore on. The temperature soon flirted with 30 degrees and snow flurries began. Hetherington was pelted with hail as he and another runner passed Eliot Tower at the top of Great Blue Hill.

Dietmar Bago cruises into the aid station after about 13 miles of running at the DRB 50K on Sunday, April 15, 2018. Photo courtesy of Ilya Bass.

Tim Finocchio, 40, of Holbrook, Mass., earned the victory in 5:36. It was his fifth time finishing DRB, and his second win. Previously he finished third in 2017, fifth in 2013, fourth in 2012, and first in 2011 (5:58). Hetherington and Sam L. tied for second in 6:08.

Brian Huffman, 34, of Framingham, Mass., finished fourth overall in 6:27. He was followed a few minutes later by 49-year-old Howie Breinan of Hebron, Conn.; 41-year-old Frank Corraro of Franklin, Mass.; 58-year-old Garry Harrington of Swanzey, N.H.; and 37-year-old Doug Hsu of West Roxbury, Mass., who finished together in 6:32. Carolyn Harper, 26, of Somerville, Mass., completed the 50K one minute later. Gregory Pearson, 30, followed one minute behind Harper to round out the overall top 10. List was the final sub-7-hour finisher as he completed his run in 6:48.

Marta Walkowaska, left, and Leah Lawry, right, spent the day running the Don’t Run Boston 50K together and finished side-by-side. Photo courtesy of Ilya Bass.

Thirty-eight runners conquered the cold temperatures and the challenging course and were credited with 50K finishes.

Breinan, Harper Earn 50-Mile Finishes

While most runners at DRB ran the event’s classic 50K course, 2018 marked the ninth year that a 50-mile distance has been offered. Eight runners started the day with their sights set on covering 50 miles. Two of them completed that distance while the other six were credited with 50K finishes. Race Director Howie Breinan and Carolyn Harper were the lone 50-mile finishers. They also were included in the 50K results with their split times. Breinan tallied his record-setting seventh finish of the DRB 50-miler in 10:23. Beard became the second woman to finish the 50-miler twice as she posted a time of 10:47. It was a course PR for Harper by more than an hour, and only 2017 champion Elise DeRoo (9:52) stands ahead of her on the women’s record board.


*Editor’s Note: This story was updated on 7/6/22.


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