MADAWASKA, Maine — A northern Maine athlete with visual and hearing impairments finished the Boston Marathon on Monday with a personal best record time of 3:34:49.
Dennis Lavoie, 59, was among dozens of Mainers and was one of three Aroostook County runners, along with Sarah Mulcahy of Fort Kent and Craig Reese of Presque Isle, to complete this year’s Boston Marathon. More than 28,000 athletes competed in the 26.2-mile race.
Born with Usher Syndrome Type II, an inherited disorder that affects hearing and vision, Lavoie’s visual field is limited to 3 inches in diameter, or about the size of a baseball. He also wears hearing aids.
The retired mechanical engineer only took up running a few years ago in a bid to lose weight.
Lavoie developed a love for the sport and rapidly picked up his pace. Since then he has competed in three other marathon races — Revel Sun Valley (3:39), Chicago Marathon (3:43) and New York City Marathon (3:44).
Lavoie raced so fast in Chicago that he has qualified for the 2023 Boston Marathon as an unassisted runner. This year, Lavoie ran in the para-division, assisted by a guide, ultra-marathon runner John Murphy from Reno, Nevada.
Despite registering his personal best marathon time, Lavoie said he fell slightly short of his training goal of an 8-minute-mile pace at Boston.
“I did okay up to mile 16 but hills slowed me down big time plus at mile 25, both my calves started to cramp up,” Lavoie said.
Lavoie said he did not encounter his fellow northern Maine marathoners during the competition.
Boston marathon results
“Sarah probably passed me at the race; she’s very fast,” Lavoie said. “I think she got a 2:50 time.”
Mulcahy, 36, has run the Boston Marathon four times, with her best personal finish in the race this year of 2:50:45.
“I ran in 2014, when I was 6 months pregnant with my daughter. Then I ran in 2016, but went out at mile 10 with an injury and didn’t finish. Then I ran in 2019 with the elite women, but was nursing a calf injury so I took it very easy just to finish,” Mulcahy said.
Mulcahy, an educator who is head coach of the boys and girls cross country and outdoor track teams at Fort Kent Community High School and an assistant track and field coach at University of Maine at Fort Kent, also competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2020.
Mulcahy said she is pleased with her time and happy she ran a successful Boston Marathon race this year.
“Overall, the day was beautiful, the crowd support was unreal, and everybody was so happy,” she said. “It was the 50th anniversary of women running in the Boston marathon and I was the 79th female to cross the finish line so that was another exciting bonus to all my hard work.”
Craig Reese, 60, finished the Boston Marathon with a time of 4:05:44.