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Runners who finish well back in the pack cherish experience, honoring themselves and others

Samantha Costa, center, crossing the finish line of the 126th Boston Marathon.Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

They finished behind the wave of elite runners Monday afternoon. The crowd along Boylston Street had thinned out.

But runners who finished well back in the pack, often to honor others or for the feeling of personal accomplishment, cherished the experience just the same.

Molly Milligan, 66, of Pacific Palisades, Calif., ran for her late cousin, Jan Galchick, who would have turned 66 on Marathon Monday. Galchick died of ovarian cancer in May 2021.

”Every mile I ran for her,” said Milligan who wore a bib with Jan’s name on it. ”Spectators and volunteers were shouting her name and cheering her on. It was just amazing,” Milligan said, tearing up. “I’m so glad I did this. I’m still overwhelmed by it all.”

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Milligan qualified for the Boston Marathon with a time of 4:27 in 2019, but didn’t get a chance to run it until Monday. She came in at 4:50.

”Father time and the pandemic kind of set me back,” Milligan said. " I didn’t even come close to my qualifying time, but it doesn’t even matter.”

Paula Marcus is trying to run the six major marathons. The Boston Marathon on Monday was her fifth. With a time of 4:23, she said she did better than she expected.

”I’m really happy,” said Marcus, 40, of Toronto. “Considering I don’t like hills and the whole course is hills.”

Christoph Seils, 58, of Berlin, said after that 17 marathons Monday’s Boston Marathon was his “hardest yet.”

”The up and down, but I did it!” Seils said.

”It’s always a struggle,” Seils added. " but if you’re at the finish line, everyone’s mostly happy.”

Tracey Lloyd kept her remarks about her first Boston Marathon blunt and to the point: “I hated it; I absolutely hated every minute of it,” said Lloyd, 55, of the United Kingdom.

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“But it wasn’t all insufferable,” she said. ”What I have done is I’ve met some fab people. You meet them on the bus, you meet them in line. The running community is so supportive and extraordinary.”



Tonya Alanez can be reached at tonya.alanez@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @talanez.