See how the 2023 Boston Marathon unfolded
Among the sea of participants who dashed by in bright bursts of color and the thousands of attendees who brandished signs at the Boston Marathon, a handful of recognizable figures took on the formidable road race.
Whether of reality television fame, political standing, or athletic prominence, these notables are often standouts in a field packed with elites and athletes supporting a cause.
Here are some notable people who participated in the 2023 Boston Marathon.
Zdeno Chara: Bruins legend — 03:38:23
Chara, the largest player in the history of the NHL and one of the strongest, left an indelible mark on Boston. The imposing former Bruins defensemen and captain is regarded as one of the greatest to have played the game, and he was known for being a perceptive leader.
He ran in support of two charities — the Thomas E. Smith Foundation and The Hoyt Foundation — both of which have ties to the area. The Boston race marked his first marathon.
Doug Flutie: Former Boston College and NFL quarterback — 05:28:34
Flutie was a standout quarterback for Boston College who later went on to play professionally for years, including for the New England Patriots.
The Natick High School graduate ran in support of the Flutie Foundation, his nonprofit that aims to “help people and families affected by autism live life to the fullest. The nonprofit was inspired by Flutie’s son, Dougie Jr., who was diagnosed with a rare autism spectrum disorder as a young child.
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the foundation, Flutie ran the marathon and was personally matching donations, “dollar for dollar, until Dougie’s Team for Autism reaches $325,000,” the foundation said.
Kyrsten Sinema: US Senator of Arizona — 3:57:27
Sinema returned to Boston after completing the race last year.
An avid athlete, Sinema qualified to run in 2021 but had to miss the race due to a broken foot. She watched as an attendee that year, with activists from her home state following her to Boston to protest her refusal to support the Biden administration’s Build Back Better plan.
She finished the race last year in just over four hours, an accomplishment that took a “long road” to reach, she said.
“Couldn’t be more grateful to have 2 strong feet and 1 happy heart this Boston Marathon!” Sinema tweeted.
Ryan Dempster: Former Red Sox player — 04:42:11
Dempster spent one season in Boston as a pitcher. In 2013, he was on the mound the day of the Boston Marathon bombing. A distance runner in high school, he always had the thought of running a marathon in the back of his mind.
He told the Globe that the 2023 Boston Marathon — a decade after he played for the Red Sox and a decade after the bombing — was the “perfect” moment to fulfill that goal. He ran to raise funds for the Lingzi Foundation, which honors the memory of bombing victim Lingzi Lu.
“It was triumph over tragedy,” Dempster said of the season, which culminated with a World Series win. “The way the city allowed us to have a small role in people recovering changed my perspective about baseball. That’s why I wanted to come back and run the Marathon. Of course I had to do it in Boston.”
Brock Holt: Former Red Sox player — 05:46:57
Former Red Sox utilityman Brock Holt said his legs were shaky after completing his first marathon run in 5:46:47. He never ran more than 12 miles in training, but went the grueling distance on Monday.
“My pace was... not too quick. I wasn’t trying to break any records today,” he said.
The 34-year-old finished a few minutes ahead of former Sox teammate Ryan Dempster, though Dempster started 30 minutes later. Holt ran with his wife, Lakyn, to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
“We love Boston, everything about it, because our time here was the best of my career,” he said. “We’ve built so many relationships with people at the Jimmy Fund, and whenever I decided I wasn’t going to play, [I thought] let’s try and do something to raise a little money and stay involved. We plan on staying involved as much as we can.” — Ethan Fuller
Berj Najarian: Bill Belichick’s right-hand man — 04:38:42
Najarian is the director of football and head coach administration for the New England Patriots, and he has long been one of coach Bill Belichick’s most trusted confidants, even once described as his “chief of staff.”
After running the Boston Marathon in 2022 in support of “Who We Are,” the nonprofit he founded in 2021, Najarian again laced up his sneakers to raise money.
Najarian grew up in an Armenian-American household, and his nonprofit “provides support to organizations and individuals dedicated to advancing cultural identity and understanding,” according to its website.
Troy, Cameron, and Ryan Hoyt: Grandsons of Dick Hoyt
Troy: 03:51:07, Cameron: 04:27:18, Ryan: 04:20:12
The Hoyt family used to congregate along the finish line, boisterously cheering as the late Dick Hoyt pushed his son, Rick, across the finish line at the Boston Marathon.
An iconic and inspiring father and son pair, Dick would push Rick, who has cerebral palsy, across the hilly course for 32 Boston Marathons. A bronze statue of the duo was erected in 2013 near the starting line in Hopkinton.
After Dick passed away in 2021, the Hoyt family remained committed to upholding their legacy.
Over 20 runners raced for Team Hoyt, a foundation devoted ‘to build the individual character, self-confidence, and self-esteem of America’s disabled young people inclusion in all facets of daily life’, per their website. Former Bruins captain Zdeno Chara repped Team Hoyt as he finished in 3:38.23.
“He said that I want to run for Team Hoyt because in 2011, when they were about to win the Stanley Cup going into game seven, he played a video of Dad and Rick before the seventh game. He credits my father and Rick for inspiring the 2011 Stanley Cup victory. That blew us away. He could have run for anybody — he could have ran for the Bruins foundation — but he chose us.”
Dick’s grandsons, Cam, Troy, and Ryan each completed the race to uphold their families commitment to the cause. — Cam Kerry
Monica (Puig) Rakitt: Former tennis star — 03:49:47
Puig pulled a major upset when she won the women’s tennis singles gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, becoming the first athlete to win gold for Puerto Rico in any sport.
She retired last June, and married Nathan Rakitt the following November. With her professional tennis career over, Puig set her sights on a new challenge: running all six of the world’s major marathons, including Boston. She documented her training journey for Boston on social media.
“I didn’t think running was ever for me, but this journey has been humbling and liberating. Running has given me a sense of purpose and plenty of goals to work towards,” she wrote on Instagram last September.
Dave Fortier: Boston Marathon bombing survivor — 04:22:56
Fortier was running the Boston Marathon in 2013 — his first marathon — to support a close friend dealing with cancer when he was injured by the first bomb. He suffered hearing loss and shrapnel wounds as a result of the attack.
Following the bombings, Fortier completed more than a dozen other marathons, including in Boston. Driven by his “passion for helping other survivors of terror and trauma,” he went on to found the One World Strong Foundation, and now serves as president. He ran the Boston race again this year.
“You hear a lot about ‘Boston Strong,’ resilience, and recovery. I’ve seen what that means. I’ve witnessed people learn how to walk again with one leg, or learn how to walk with two new legs. People just don’t give up, we adapt and we persevere,” Fortier wrote for TIME in 2014 in an article sharing why he was running the race again.
Steven Reny: Boston Marathon bombing survivor — 04:23:23
Steven Reny stood near the finish line of the Marathon in 2013 with his wife, Audrey, and daughter, Gillian, to watch his other daughter, Danielle, complete the race when the bombs went off. Steven and Audrey were treated for minor injuries, while Gillian suffered severe wounds to her legs. Doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital were able to save both of Gillian’s legs and aided in her recovery.
The family established the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund in February 2014. Their physical hub, named the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation, opened in January 2017, helping to make an impact on the lives of trauma survivors.
Steven has run the marathon with Audrey in support of the cause before, and he ran it again with the Stepping Strong team this year, whose mission is “turning tragedy into hope,” the center wrote on Instagram.
Kayleigh Williamson: Chosen by Adidas as Runner 321
Williamson became the first woman with Down Syndrome to complete the Austin Marathon last February. She was chosen by Adidas to be Runner 321 in the Boston Marathon, a number representing Trisomy 21 (another name for Down Syndrome). The campaign to boost inclusivity, which began last year, aims to ensure that the 321 spot in marathons is reserved for neurodivergent athletes in every race. Chris Nikic ran his second Boston Marathon as Runner 321 last year.
“It is an absolute dream come true to be running the Boston Marathon, representing two such incredible organizations,” she wrote in her bio for the Kyle Please Foundation, the other cause she is running for. “It is actually a dream come true to be running at all. But need I remind you? I am a Marathon Finisher.”
oneSTRENGTH.— Boston Marathon (@bostonmarathon) April 7, 2023
Kayleigh Williamson will be wearing bib number 321 at #Boston127—a number representing the trisomy 21 in the Down syndrome community. Athletes like Kayleigh are changing the way neurodivergent athletes are represented in sports.💙💛#oneBOSTON #oneSTRENGTH pic.twitter.com/kY6A8ZeLuf
Amby Burfoot: 1968 Boston Marathon winner — 04:40:05
Burfoot won the Boston Marathon in 1968 when he was a senior at Wesleyan University, an accomplishment he told the Globe a half-century later only happens in “one’s wildest dreams.”
Burfoot, the former executive editor of Runner’s World Magazine, has returned to complete the fabled road more than 20 times since. He took it on again this year.
“In the old days you always sprinted as fast as you could across the finish line because your time at Boston was your résumé for the year,” Burfoot said in 2018. “Boston was everything, it was the only thing that counted. Now when I get to the final stretch I walk, I enjoy, I say thank you. I turn around and applaud the people who are coming back to me and I pay honor to the wondrous miracle of being at the finish of the Boston Marathon.”
General James C. McConville: Chief of Staff of US Army — 4:59:13
McConville, a Quincy native, is the 40th Chief of Staff of the US Army. After taking part in a ceremony at the start of the marathon to honor veterans, McConville ran the race.
Megan Morant: WWE’s ‘SmackDown!’ reporter — 0:2:59:03
Morant spent four years as a reporter and host — under her given name, Megan O’Brien — for Patriots.com in Foxborough before heading down south to Orlando, Fla., where she has lived while working as the backstage reporter for WWE’s “SmackDown!” for the past two years.
A former track and cross-country athlete at Northwestern University, Morant ran her fifth Boston Marathon — and her 11th overall. Her goal was to break three hours in the race — and she did. To aid in hitting her target, Morant kept up with her training even while traveling nonstop for “SmackDown!” during the year.
“It always means so much to be part of Patriots Day in Boston. The camaraderie is amazing, and the course is so unique. I’ve been running since I was 8 years old, and if you’re a runner, you dream about the Boston Marathon,” she told the Globe.
💙LFG BABY!!!!💛 pic.twitter.com/UolmfYHVue— Megan Morant (@MeganMorantWWE) April 16, 2023
Mike Myers: Former Red Sox player — 05:59:31
Myers pitched for the Red Sox for a couple of seasons, and won a World Series in 2004. He is running his second Boston Marathon for The Angel Fund for ALS Research at UMass Medical School. Myers cited Mike Timlin, his close friend and fellow former Red Sox, as the inspiration behind his decision to complete the marathon.
Myers said he participates in “Hopkinton every year to support the fight against ALS in honor” of Mike’s mother, Sharon, and that he could not “think of a better way” to continue aiding in that cause than by running the marathon in support of The Angel Fund for ALS Research.
Daniel Humm: Award-winning celebrity chef — 02:58:53
Humm is the owner and chef of the famed Eleven Madison Park in New York City, and he has received a number of accolades during his tenure, among them three Michelin Stars.
Also, a former pro cyclist, Humm has run many marathons over the years — including with some of his employees in New York City. He also once dated actress Demi Moore.
Kourtney Turner — 05:25:28
Red Sox third baseman Justin Turner thought he would be able to make it from Fenway Park to Boylston Street in time to watch his wife Kourtney cross the finish line.
Kourtney, 36, had decided to take on the Boston route after Justin signed a one-year contract with the Red Sox in January. She didn’t yet know about the Red Sox’ annual Patriots Day tradition of playing a morning baseball game. Even with the overlap, however, the Turners figured Justin could still cheer on Kourtney after the game wrapped up.
Based on Kourtney’s previous races — she’s run the Los Angeles Marathon five times, including the most recent one in March — the timing should have worked out.
No such luck. Read the story here.
Marichka Padalko: Ukrainian journalist — 04:53:04
Padalko, a television anchor and journalist from Ukraine, had been training in the midst of war. She ran in the streets of Kyiv on a daily basis to prepare for the Boston Marathon, all while reporting on the war unfolding around her. Her husband is fighting on the front lines, and she has been separated from two of her three children in an effort to keep them safe.
She ran in support of Sunflower of Peace, a nonprofit organization that “provides life-saving medical and humanitarian aid to Ukrainians affected by the Russian military invasion,” according to its website.
Katya Malakhova, a Ukrainian immigrant living in Newton, started the charity and asked Padalko in December if she would run for the cause. Both Malakhova and Padalko hope that Padalko taking on Boston will help to keep the war in Ukraine on people’s minds.
“If Ukrainians sometimes feel exhausted, I can understand how people in other countries get tired of hearing about the war that is so far away,” Padalko told the Globe. “I so appreciate how the world helps us. I’m running not just to ask for more help, but also as a way to say thank you.”
State Senator Lydia Edwards
Edwards, former Boston city councilor and now state senator, took on Boston Marathon for the second time. She ran for the Junior Achievement for Greater Boston, a nonprofit that “inspires and prepares young people for success,” according to its website.
Photos she tweeted ahead of the race show a shirt with “Lydee” written on the front, and “Senatah” — channeling the classic Boston accent — on the back.
Tomorrow! #bostonmarathon @bostonmarathon #patriotsday #juniorachievement #mapoli #bospoli pic.twitter.com/yghTtV0Muk— Lydia Edwards (@LydiaMEdwards) April 17, 2023
Matt Reed: WCVB reporter — 04:16:24
Reed, WCVB EyeOpener reporter, undertook the Boston Marathon for the “Miles for Miracles” team to “raise money and say thank you for the life-saving work the staff at Boston Children’s Hospital do every day,” he said on fund-raising website. It marked his first marathon.
Reed graduated from Boston University four months before the 2013 bombing, and he said that when the opportunity arose to run the race a decade after the tragedy, he “couldn’t say no.”
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Reed told WCVB. “I said I wanted to do it once, and the opportunity came up. You know they say there’s no good time to have a kid? There’s probably no good time to run a marathon. And there’s been many times I thought that. I’ll sleep after April 17.”
Gina Fiandaca: Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation — 4:15:04
Fiandaca, who previously ran Boston’s transportation department and now serves as transportation secretary under the Healey administration, ran the Boston Marathon.
She has run it previously, including in 2013, when she narrowly escaped the bombing. As a senior transportation official in Boston at the time, she returned to her office after completing the race and helped to coordinate the response to the tragedy.
Transportation Secretary Gina Fiandaca will be engaging in our oldest form of transportation today, as she runs her 17th Boston Marathon. @MassDOT @bostonmarathon pic.twitter.com/F4VBqYliHL— Carl Stevens (@carlwbz) April 17, 2023
Read more about the Boston Marathon
- Dan Shaughnessy: Two of sport’s best — Eliud Kipchoge and Shohei Ohtani — were in town, but rain fell on their parade
- Evans Chebet defends his Boston Marathon men’s title after Eliud Kipchoge fades on Heartbreak Hill
- Kenya’s Hellen Obiri surges in last mile to capture women’s elite race in Boston Marathon
- ‘It was really surreal:’ How Emma Bates finished as top American in women’s field
- ‘Today was a tough day for me’: Eliud Kipchoge reflects on his sixth-place finish at the Boston Marathon
- Marcel Hug sets course record, Susannah Scaroni overcomes loose wheel in winning Boston Marathon wheelchair divisions
- Boston Marathon champion Hellen Obiri and daughter capture hearts with finish line greeting
- Ababel Yeshaneh fell during the Boston Marathon — but still finished fourth
- Ten years after terror, Marathon Monday is still Boston’s pageant
- Amid the throngs of participants on Monday were some notable names. Here’s how the celebrities did in the Marathon.
- Family and friends of Martin Richard run the race in his memory
- Zdeno Chara couldn’t decide if running the Boston Marathon was harder than playing an NHL game
- ‘Run like there’s Taylor tickets on sale!!’: The best signs from the Boston Marathon route
- These two women ran the Boston Marathon, but their husbands missed it. There was a good reason.
- Doug Flutie missed six weeks of training. He still finished the Boston Marathon — and raised thousands for charity.
- Dan Shaughnessy: Two of sport’s best — Eliud Kipchoge and Shohei Ohtani — were in town, but rain fell on their parade
- A grad student and a Greater Boston Track Club member won the ‘Fastest Bostonian’ awards at the 2023 Boston Marathon
Shannon Larson can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98.