Lo­cal run­ners sur­vive tough con­di­tions in Bos­ton

Windsor Star - - FRONT PAGE - CHRIS THOMP­SON chthomp­son@post­media.com

For the group of marathon run­ners from Wind­sor and Es­sex County who trav­elled to par­tic­i­pate in the 2018 Bos­ton Marathon it will be very mem­o­rable — but for all the wrong rea­sons.

“It was bru­tal. Ab­so­lutely bru­tal,” said Ge­orge Drew, 53, of Wind­sor, who fin­ished the 26-mile course he calls the Su­per Bowl of marathons in a time of three hours, 23 min­utes and 13 sec­onds. That was in spite of head­winds from the east gust­ing at 50 to 80 kilo­me­tres per hour, a steady rain that var­ied from driz­zle to ice pel­lets, and tem­per­a­tures just above the freez­ing mark.

“This was like (huge) gusts with sleety big giant pel­let­ing rain that felt like nee­dles hit­ting your skin,” said Drew.

“It was just bru­tal. And the head­winds were un­re­lent­ing.” This was Drew’s fifth Bos­ton Marathon, his first com­ing in 2013 when the tragic bomb­ing oc­curred — some­thing he said still crosses his mind.

For that first Bos­ton Marathon, his wife and kids were there to cheer him on and headed to­ward the fin­ish line where the bombers det­o­nated their de­vices.

But rather than stay on that main street, Drew’s wife and kids went to an al­ley be­hind stores, and that’s where they were when the bombs went off.

On the week­end be­fore the 2018 marathon, the fam­ily vis­ited that al­ley, as well as a memo­rial at the bomb­ing site.

“We stood there and just, we welled up, be­cause I could have lost my wife and kids,” Drew said. As for Mon­day ’s marathon, Drew said the ex­hil­a­ra­tion of fin­ish­ing was quickly met with a run­ners vil­lage — where fin­ish­ers rest — he de­scribed as a “mud pit.” “Ev­ery­one looked just as mis­er­able as I was. There was not a happy face in the crowd.” South Wood­slee’s Rich Ditty, 50, fin­ished with a time of 3:14:10. “I got it done,” said Ditty. “It was a tough one.”

Mike Au­bin, 42, of Belle River, ran the marathon three weeks af­ter menis­cus surgery on his right knee and fin­ished with a re­spectable time of 3:40:32.

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