From my spot shortly after mile 22 (on the downhill heading into Cleveland Circle), Hilary Dionne looked very strong as she flew by me. I barely had time to snap off a couple of pics with my phone. The conditions, as you know by now, were about as miserable as one can face for a marathon. The one woman in front of her was too far ahead to be helping break the wind at all.
Hilary, who’s an Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon, had certainly run faster than what she was doing that day, but the splits she was dropping were still quite impressive under the circumstances. Check them out:
5K – 18:09
10K – 36:14 … 5:49 pace
15K – 54:35
20K – 1:13:05
Half – 1:17:11 … 5:53 pace
25K – 1:31:48
30K – 1:51:08 … 5:57 pace
35K – 2:11:15 … 6:02 pace
40K – 2:31:22 … 6:05 pace
Finish – 2:40:42 … 6:07 pace
This placed Hilary 304th overall, which on its own is an accomplishment, but then when you consider that she placed 15th both in her division and for women overall, then you see just how extraordinary of a race she had. Almost forgot to mention that Hilary was 4th American woman. Fourth! Desi…Shalane…Nelson…then Hilary. Come on, that’s great.
Now allow me to step up on a soap box for a second here… Not a big enough deal has been made of this. The moment with Meb was awesome, and arguably the highlight of the day. It’s one of those indelible moments that will forever be a part of this race and one that we’ll recall fondly (and often). And rightly so…but Hilary ran an amazing race too! Now maybe I didn’t look hard enough, but I didn’t see anything about her on the BAA website, and that’s her own team! She was the 4th American woman, a local girl running fast times. Boston.com had a gallery up and one of the images was of her and Meb holding hands at the line, with a caption that said something like “2013 Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi (USA) and Hilary Dionne (also of the US) cross the finish line in style (and in smile).” Now the one I’m linking to here is slightly different, in that it basically just cut the USA reference, but the point remains the same: no mention of her local ties. All they could muster was ‘also of the US’? Wow…what are the odds that Meb finished so close to another US citizen. Are you kidding me? Shouldn’t we be celebrating it extra hard because of that? The moment still would’ve been amazing had Meb grabbed the hand of Liz Lemon from Iowa, but the fact that it was a local woman from a local club made it that much more spectacular. Come on Boston.com, you’re better than that…aren’t you?
Rant aside, Hilary took some time out of her busy post-race schedule to answer a couple of questions from us.
Was it harder than you expected it to be? How tough was it running by yourself in the last few miles?
I actually ran most of the race alone, starting before mile 2. Amako, the Japanese woman, was far ahead of me but I kept her in my sight and tried to catch her. At that point she didn’t stay with me for more than a mile though, and then caught me again when I slowed down on the hills. My legs were pretty dead by that point and I was cold from the headwind that had picked up as I approached Newton. Being alone in the wind was physically and mentally tough.
About that moment with Meb…
I heard Meb being announced as he approached the finish line, so wasn’t surprised that it was him, but didn’t expect him to grab my hand! It all happened so quickly that there wasn’t really time to think.
— Level Renner (@levelrenner) April 20, 2015
What are you turning your attention to now? Hartford in the fall?
My focus for the next year is on the trials. I’ll be planning all races and training blocks around having the best performance there possible.
For more on Hilary’s race (and The Moment), check out:
Of those reads, the best one by far is the ‘Cumberland’ piece that appeared on the Valley Breeze site by Eric Benevides. Check it out!