This year’s Boston Marathon has been postponed until September, but that didn’t stop Daniel Romanchuk from racing on Patriots Day.
Romanchuk, who won Boston’s men’s wheelchair division last April, organized the "Virtual Roller Marathon,” an event that brought together more than 70 racers from the comfort of their homes. Using stationary roller equipment, the participants followed the 26.2-mile course at race speed.
"It was a great morning, really,” Romanchuk told Team USA reporter Paul Bowker. “It really did feel like a marathon morning. You’re getting up, making breakfast, just going through that routine of a race morning.”
The festivities began at 8:55 a.m. with the national anthem, and the race began at 9. Thirteen countries were represented, from Japan to New Zealand to Ecuador, with some racers logging on at 12:55 a.m. local time.
Among the entrants were three-time Boston Marathon men’s champion Marcel Hug of Switzerland, five-time Boston women’s champion Tatyana McFadden, and 10-time Boston men’s champion Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa.
"How cool is it that a 15-year-old in New Zealand is pushing at 2 o’clock in the morning, his time, he can push with Marcel and Ernst Van Dyk and Daniel and Tatyana?” said Romanchuk’s mother, Kim.
Also on the video conference was Boston Athletic Association chief operation officer Jack Fleming, who set the scene for the racers by describing course landmarks as they reached them virtually.
"If we couldn’t be together in person in Boston, this was the next best thing!” Romanchuk wrote on Facebook later Monday. “Thank you to everyone who jumped in to make it happen — you were amazing. Boston, we missed being there today, but we’ll be back soon!”