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She tried to spell ‘Boston Strong’ by running through Boston. Just one thing was missing

The Boston Marathon was postponed until Sept. 14 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Boston Marathon was postponed until Sept. 14 because of the coronavirus pandemic.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

After crossing the Boston Marathon finish line alone Monday morning, Lindsay Devers checked her phone and thought to herself, “I’m an idiot.”

Devers, a 30-something nurse anesthetist at Massachusetts General Hospital, thought she had mapped everything out perfectly for her debut marathon. She had trained for five months leading up to the race’s postponement, the first in its 124-year history, and wasn’t ready to wait until the rescheduled date in September to cross the finish line.

She had heard the requests to stay off the 26.2-mile course, but finishing that final stretch down Boylston Street was still on her mind. So, she got creative.

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Using a fitness app called Strava, Devers designed a roughly eight-mile route that began in the Boston Common and circled through the streets of Back Bay. The circuitous path ended at the marathon’s finish line and would spell, “Boston Strong,” in her app’s GPS.

Well, that was the plan at least. Once Devers checked her phone, she realized she had made a mistake: The “N” in “Boston Strong” was missing.

“Boston Strog,” Devers laughed. “I’m an idiot.”

This shows Lindsay Devers's running route, as recorded by the fitness app Strava, on Monday, the day the Boston Marathon was originally scheduled.
This shows Lindsay Devers's running route, as recorded by the fitness app Strava, on Monday, the day the Boston Marathon was originally scheduled.Lindsay Devers

Starting at 5:20 a.m. Monday morning, Devers ran her custom course three times in order to reach 26.2 miles. She wore a hydration backpack loaded with water, Gatorade, energy chews, and a quarter-zip jacket in case she got cold.

“I thought I was doing so well,” Devers said. “I was so careful not to mess things up and then I did.”

Upon crossing the finish line shortly after 9:30 a.m. — with “This is Me” from “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack blasting in her headphones — Devers raised her arms and let out a cry.

“It felt amazing,” she said. “It feels amazing on a different level because you don’t have anybody cheering for you, you don’t have the support of volunteers. You’re out there carrying your own water, carrying your own gels. It’s all you and your own mental fortitude to push through. No one’s running with you, no one’s cheering you on. It’s all in your head to keep going.”

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The small snafu didn’t detract from her morning, which began at 4 a.m. with a cup of coffee while watching “Boston: The Documentary.” Devers was proud of her accomplishment, even if her finish wasn’t official.

In fact, Devers doesn’t know whether she ran 26.2 or 28.8 miles. Her two tracking devices were displaying different distances, so she ran until both read at least 26.2.

“I wanted to make sure I got the whole distance in,” she said. “The first 10 miles, I was like, ‘Oh, this is great,’ and I was feeling it. Then, it got to a point — maybe around mile 15 — I was like, ‘Why am I doing this?’ Then, I got to mile 20 and I was OK. Then, I saw the differences in my GPSes and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I have to run maybe two more extra miles. [Expletive].’”

Devers still plans to run the Boston Marathon in September as a member of the fundraising team for Dream Big, a local non-profit that provides sporting equipment and mentorship to low-income families in the Boston community.

Until then, Monday’s achievement will be tough to top.

“It’s a battle with yourself,” she said. “There are times where I felt, you know, no one would know if I stopped except for me. And that’s what matters.”

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