SAD 22 superintendent Rick Lyons of Hampden completed his 15th consecutive Boston Marathon earlier this month.
But as was the case for most of the other 21,602 runners who endured scorching mid-April temperatures in the mid-to-upper 80s to finish the 26.2-mile journey, it wasn’t easy.
The 59-year-old Lyons ran a fairly steady pace for the first 23 miles, ranging between 25 minutes, 38 seconds for his second 5-kilometer split and 28:42 for kilometers 31-35.
But with less than 3 miles to go to the finish line, Lyons fell victim to dehydration in a major way.
“I ran pretty even splits through the first 40 kilometers, but when I got to 23½ miles I just shut down,” said Lyons. “I went down on one knee, and a medical technician took me to a tent and gave me an IV. I stopped for 17 or 18 minutes and finally he asked me if I could keep going, and I said I could and I walked the last mile and a half or two miles.
“I had a lot of companionship to walk with, it was quite a scene. All kinds of people were walking at that point and there were sirens and people being carried off on stretchers and wheelchairs all around you. I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
Lyons finished the race in 5 hours, 35 minutes and 28 seconds, nearly two hours slower than his 2011 time of 3:37:17.
“Maybe I should have backed off my pace at 20 miles, but I felt no real signs at that point,” said Lyons. “Everything came on all of a sudden. At Mile 22 I started to tighten up a little, and a mile later or so I just shut down.”
Lyons knew this was to be no ordinary Boston Marathon when he ran past the Citizens Bank sign in Natick, Mass., that read 91 degrees.
“The only year comparable to this for me was 2004,” Lyons said. “It was 82 degrees at the start that year but there was a slight breeze and it was a little cloudy. This year there was zero breeze and not a cloud in the sky.”
Lyons said he did all he could do to stay cool and hydrated along the route.
“They usually have water stops every two miles, but this year they had them every mile and I took on fluids every mile and sometimes I stopped to make sure I took in every last ounce of fluid I could,” said Lyons. “Everybody was trying to help, the local fire departments had their hoses going, people along the route were spraying with their garden hoses and the fire hydrants were open.
“But I could feel the heat coming up through my sneakers.”
Lyons said despite his late-race difficulties, his recovery time after the race was no different than in other years.
“It was a good experience in terms of learning about how much the body can absorb and when enough is enough,” said Lyons.
Lyons and the other Boston qualifiers had the option of deferring their participation in the race until next year due to the extreme heat, and while Lyons said he thought about not running, ultimately he didn’t want to give up his streak of consecutive Boston races completed.
“I met my first goal of finishing my 15th consecutive Boston race, but I’m going to have to run another marathon to qualify for next year’s Boston,” said Lyons, who is accorded automatic entry to next year’s race as long as he achieves a qualifying time, which for him will be 3:55 for next year’s race when he competes in the 60-64 age division.
Orrington 10K awaits local runners on Cinco de Mayo
The TradeWinds Market Place/Sub 5 Road Race Series resumes May 5 with the FinishLynx Orrington 10-kilometer race and 1-mile fun run to be held at the Center Drive School in Orrington.
That race will be the third in this year’s 14-race series, which began on New Year’s Eve with the Epic Finale 5K in Bangor and concludes Nov. 18 with the Brewer High School Turkey Trot 3-miler.
Runners may compete for the yearlong overall men’s and women’s series titles in a variety of age categories by competing in at least five of the races, with the top 10 runners in each age group at each race accumulating points. A runner’s five best finishes in series races are considered when determining the year-end champions.
Kristine Guaraldo currently leads the women’s overall standings with victories in each of the first two races in the series, the Epic Finale 5K in Bangor and the Flattop 5K held March 31 in Lamoine. Caleb Lander leads the men’s point standings after finishing second and third in the first two races.
Current Oklahoma University distance runner Riley Masters of Bangor was the men’s champion at the Epic 5K, while Bangor High School cross-country coach Adam Goode won the Flattop 5K.
Goode and Guaraldo are the defending champions in the FinishLynx Orrington 10K, Goode completing the 6.2-mile course in 35 minutes, 10 seconds while Guaraldo set a women’s course record in 38:49.
Evan Graves set the Orrington 10K men’s course record of 32:06 in 2005.
The fun run begins at 9 a.m., followed by the 10K at 9:30. For information, visit www.sub5.com.
Sea Dogs 5K field filling fast
The field for the 12th annual Portland Sea Dogs Mother’s Day 5K to be held May 13 in Portland is limited to 3,000, and race organizers say they are fast approaching that cap.
The flat 5-kilometer course begins in front of the Portland Expo and concludes near the third-base dugout at Hadlock Field.
The top overall male and female finishers will receive a trophy, a pair of 2012 season tickets for the remainder of the Sea Dogs’ season and the chance to throw out the ceremonial first-pitch prior to a future Sea Dogs game.
All race participants will receive a complimentary ticket to a future Sea Dogs game.
Proceeds from the race benefit the Maine Cancer Foundation.
A free kids’ run is set for 8:30 a.m., followed by the 5K at 9:15 a.m.