Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon: 7 Remarkable Stories From This Year's Race

The historic race returned Monday after more than a 900-day absence

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Monday's Boston Marathon was different from its predecessors. For one, due to the pandemic, it was the first-ever fall marathon in the race's 125-year history. And it was also smaller, with staggered starts to allow for more social distancing.

But blind runner Christopher Lancaster said after his run that it still sounds the same.

"Just having the crowds here makes every step worth it," he said.

Another thing that hasn't changed is the inspirational stories that come out of the race each time it is run. Here are several of those stories about the real people who make up the marathon.

Paralyzed hockey player finishes marathon

Among the finishers in the men's wheelchair division was Matt Brown, the former Norwood High School hockey player who was paralyzed by a hit on the ice 11 years ago when he was just 15 years old.

Brown, a motivational speaker, author and spinal cord injury advocate, was pushed by Luke Carr, a Boston firefighter and avid hockey fan who befriended Brown after a spinal cord injury in 2010 left him paralyzed from the neck down.

It was their 10th time participating in the marathon together. They first teamed up to run it in 2012 to raise awareness of spinal cord injuries.

Marblehead's Shalane Flanagan finishes fourth of six Abbott World Marathon Majors races in seven weeks

Shalane Flanagan of Marblehead, Massachusetts, finished the Boston Marathon with a time of 2:40:34 on Monday, just one day after she completed the Chicago Marathon in 2:46:39.

With a condensed schedule this year because of COVID-19, Flanagan's goal is to finish all six Abbott World Marathon Majors within a seven-week span.

She has already completed the Berlin and London marathons and still has New York City remaining Nov. 7. She will also complete the Tokyo marathon virtually since it was postponed until next year.

Shalane Flanagan of the United States crosses the finish line during the 125th Boston Marathon on October 11, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

Hug makes wrong turn, costs himself $50,000

Marcel Hug of Switzerland won the men’s wheelchair race Monday despite making a wrong term in the final mile, finishing the slightly detoured route just seven seconds off his course record in 1:08:11.

Hug, who has raced Boston eight times and has five victories here, cost himself a $50,000 course record bonus when he missed the second-to-last turn, following the lead vehicle instead of turning from Commonwealth Avenue onto Hereford Street.

“The car went straight and I followed the car,” said Hug, who finished second in the Chicago Marathon by 1 second on Sunday. “But it’s my fault. I should go right, but I followed the car.”

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Marcel Hug of Switzerland crosses the finish line to win the men's wheelchair race during the 125th Boston Marathon on October 11, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Kenyans, Swiss sweep

Benson Kipruto and Diana Kipyogei completed a Kenyan sweep in men's and women's divisions of Monday's Boston Marathon. It was the eighth sweep since 2000.

A winner in Prague and Athens who finished 10th in Boston in 2019, Kipruto broke away from the lead pack as it turned onto Beacon Street with about three miles to go and broke the tape in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 51 seconds.

Kipyogei claimed the women’s title, a gilded olive wreath and the $150,000 first prize, finishing in 2:24:45 in her major marathon debut.

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Benson Kipruto and Diana Kipyogei of Kenya react after winning the men's and women's divisions of the 125th Boston Marathon on October 11, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the Swiss swept the wheelchair divisions, with Hug winning the men’s race despite his wrong turn in the final mile. Manuela Schär, also from Switzerland, won the women’s wheelchair race in 1:35:21.

Mark Garfinkel
Marcel Hug crossed the Boston Marathon finish line just shy of the world record for the men's wheelchair division and Manuela Schär defended her women's wheelchair title.

Massachusetts native finishes 7th in men's field

Princeton, Massachusetts, native Colin Bennie was the top U.S. men’s finisher, finishing seventh overall with a time of 2:11:26, according to the Boston Globe.

“I really couldn’t have imagined a better first Boston,” he told the Globe. “It turned out to be a great day, a little bit windy, but honestly pretty perfect weather in my opinion anyway. I’m just thrilled and soaking it in at this point.”

“No experience that can measure up to something like this,” the 26-year-old Wachusett Regional High School graduate added.

Colin Bennie of the United States nears the finish line during the 125th Boston Marathon on October 11, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Former fullback runs full race

A familiar face crossed the finish line on Boylston Street for many locals in the crowd: former New England Patriots fullback James Develin.

The seven-year pro -- all of them for the Patriots -- related the experience of rushing the football in the NFL to running 26.2 miles.

"As a fullback, you're willing to put your body through the ringer and just embrace the pain a little bit and that's kind of what I did for the last four-and-a-half hours."

Develin played his last NFL game in 2019, having logged five touchdowns and won three Super Bowls with the Pats.

Post-race pushups

As if they hadn't gotten enough of a workout, plenty of runners did pushups after finishing their marathon.

One of the athletes who did them was Steve Sprieser. He had hip surgery in February, but didn't let that stop him from taking part.

"I told the surgeon I was running Boston in October no matter, and here I am," he said at the finish line.

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