123rd annual event

Rain, wind cannot deter Midcoast runners from appointed Boston Marathon journey

Soutiea, Fowler, Kangas, Withee among more than 33,000 to participate in historic race
By Mark Haskell | Apr 17, 2019
Courtesy of: Paul Nelson Greg Soutiea of Spruce Head, in yellow, among more than 33,000 who run the Boston Marathon on April 15.

Boston, Mass. — Intermittent rain — steady at times and sporadic at others — and wind made things more difficult for the thousands of runners who pounded the Massachusetts' pavement at the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15.

But despite the fact Mother Nature gave the runners additional challenges for arguably the most famous 26.2-mile race in the world — and a rite of spring for many distance athletes — most finished among the cool temperatures, including four Midcoast participants.

Greg Soutiea, 35, of Spruce Head; Jasmine Fowler, 40, of Morrill; Kathy Kangas, 53, of Camden; and Theresa Withee, 52, of Hope, crossed the finish line in less than four hours, 40 minutes, as Fowler's time of three hours, 46 minutes, 32 seconds topped the area runners.

There were 169 registered Mainers in this year's race.

The historic event, hosted and sponsored by the Boston Athletic Association, began in Hopkinton and concluded on Boylston Street in the city.

Soutiea finished in 3:47:10 for 13,761st overall, 9,083rd among men and 3,820th in his age group. His mile pace was 8:40.

Withee, who crossed the course in sneakers (she has done the trek barefoot in the past), finished in 4:37:11 for 22,225th overall, 9,558th among women and 942nd in her age group. Her mile pace was 10:35.

Kangas finished in 4:26:32 for 21,034th overall, 8,921st among women and 839th in her age group. Her mile pace was 10:10.

Fowler finished in 3:46:23 for 13,533rd overall, 4,556th among women and 827th in her age group. Her mile pace was 8:39.

Lawrence Cherono of Kenya won the marathon with a blistering time of two hours, seven minutes and 57 seconds.

Soutiea's performance was more remarkable given the fact he ran the course twice. That is 26.2 miles twice. In the same day. Back to back. That is more than 52 miles.

Soutiea, and others, did a "Double Boston," where runners run the race backwards from Boylston Street to Hopkinton early in the morning before turning around and running the race again  — and being officially timed — with more than 33,000 other entrants.

"The run out to Hopkinton was quiet and had about an hour of terrible wind and rain," Soutiea said. "But other than that the weather was pretty good. The run back to Boston was as epic as any. It's the best day of the year in Boston bar none."

Soutiea, who recently moved to the Midcoast from Boston by way of Missouri, said "the race was amazing" and there is "no better atmosphere in all of sports."

"The crowds were seemingly less than in some other years, but no less excited," he said.

Soutiea, the new owner of the Craignair Inn and Restaurant in Spruce Head, represented the Somerville Road Runners and Zoom Multisport in the marathon.

It was Soutiea’s sixth year running the Boston Marathon, and third straight doing it back and forth.

Withee, who still recalls when she and thousands of others were unable to finish the race in 2013 after the bombing, said "any year I get to finish, even after having a rough time of it, is exciting."

Withee ran as a member of the Crow Athletics women's master team.

"The course was lined with people I know from both my private life and the running clubs I belong too," she said. "That is what I run towards. Knowing they are there waiting to cheer me on, high-five or just give a hug or are out on the course is what motivates me to keep going."

She added that the volunteers from Hopkinton to Boston "were as helpful and vociferous as always" and that she, and the others who competed in the event, are still "Boston Strong."

"The camaraderie among the runners and spectators also is always a highlight," she said. "We cheer for each other and encourage when we think others need to hear it."

Most who participate in the Boston Marathon had to reach a qualifying standard for their age and gender in the calendar year leading up to the event. However, others can participate through other means, such as with charity groups, for example.

Others qualify for Boston but choose not to participate or simply could not register for the race.

The 2019 edition was the sixth for Withee, who qualified for the marathon based on her finish at the Millinocket Marathon. She has run marathons with or without footwear.

“Boston is just one of those marathons that is full of so much history and when I was a teenager, [it] was the marathon that I dreamed of running someday,” said the longtime barefoot runner before the race. “It feels like a privilege to be able to run it.”

Withee said before the event she planned to participate in the run/walk wave of the event as she “didn’t get in the training I was hoping to [this year].”

Soutiea said before the event, “It’s really just a day of celebration for me every year and less of a ‘run as fast as I can’ race.”

“I think this year the best part will be a homecoming of sorts since we moved here at the end of 2018,” said the former Boston resident. “I will just plan to stop along the way and visit friends and enjoy a few beers during my lap back into the city.”

Soutiea qualified for the marathon by virtue of his time in the Beantown Marathon on Sept. 9.

Those who want to comment on their experience in the Boston Marathon (or want to share photos) can email Mark Haskell at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.

Greg Soutiea of Spruce Head. (Courtesy of: Paul Nelson)
Greg Soutiea of Spruce Head, second from right. (Courtesy of: Paul Nelson)
Greg Soutiea of Spruce Head, left, with a friend. (Courtesy of: Lindsey Wolfe)
Theresa Withee of Hope, in blue, around mile 23. (Courtesy of: Theresa Withee)
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