As Tatyana McFadden crossed the finish line in 1:52:54 Monday, she wasn’t thinking about herself and what it felt like to win her third consecutive Boston Marathon women’s wheelchair title.
She wasn’t thinking about how she became the fifth woman to win three or more consecutive titles in Boston, or that she had just won her ninth straight World Marathon Major.
All she could think of was the Richard family waiting for her at the finish line as she raced for Team MR8, the charitable foundation started by Bill and Denise Richard after their 8-year-old son, Martin, was killed in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
So when McFadden received her gold olive wreath, she gave it to Bill.
“I had the pleasure of getting to know Martin Richard’s family, and ever since the first day I met them, I knew this race wasn’t about me,” McFadden said.
“It brought something really different to the race. It was a greater picture. Just listening to their story, they have so much strength, courage, and hope, and I really, really wanted to win today just so I could present that wreath to them and they can keep it at their house as a remembrance of strength, courage, and hope. I was thinking about that the entire race as soon as the gun went off.
“The dad got teary-eyed. Henry [Martin’s brother] was speechless. It will be good to see the family today.”
Five-time winner Wakako Tsuchida of Japan finished second in 1:53:48, while Susannah Scaroni was third in 1:57:21, edging fellow American and training partner Amanda McGrory.
It was cold and rainy at the start in Hopkinton, and the conditions made for a slower race, with McFadden’s time 17:48 off her finish last year.
Tsuchida started fast and led until the 15-kilometer mark (9.32 miles). McFadden relied on her strength in the uphill portions of the race, and once she passed Tsuchida, she never relinquished her lead.
“The weather conditions played in my favor,” McFadden said. “I was a little worried at the start because it was raining quite a bit.
“Wakako was so fast. Luckily I was with Susannah and Amanda and we took turns. They took the downhill part and I took most of the climbs, and I knew I had to climb pretty quickly in order to get Wakako because I knew she was going just as fast.
“Luckily the headwind played in my favor where I was able to climb really strong.”