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A bald eagle suit, a ‘running-moon,’ an assist at the finish line: 16 stories you may have missed from the Boston Marathon

Wendy Petersen stops to kiss her husband, Dan, on Heartbreak Hill on Monday.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Marathon Monday is chaos. Runners gasp toward the finish. Boylston Street is littered with plastic blankets and discarded water bottles. The cheers, the signs, the celebrations — it’s easy to miss the little moments.

Here’s a collection of what Globe reporters saw on the course.

Read all the Globe’s Marathon coverage | How Marathon Monday unfolded

Why was this man in a bald eagle suit? He had a good reason.

By John Hilliard

Most people were dressed for a day in the rain, with hoodies and umbrellas. But spectator Steve Fama made a unique sartorial choice Monday — a bald eagle costume, complete with an oversized head and beak.

Fama, 49, a manager at the Back Bay Post Office, said he was wearing the costume as part of a recruitment drive for the post office at the starting line. The suit was a good pick for the chilly, wet day — he couldn’t feel the rain until he took the head off. So far, plenty of people wanted to take a picture with him in the suit.

Shortly after 10 a.m., he was still waiting for colleagues to join him.


“I was supposed to have people with me,” Fama said. “But I turn around and they’re not here.”

Evan Williams's arm is "bitten" by the Eagle at the start line.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

The eagle costume is owned by the post office, he said, and he has worn it at other recruitment drives in the past. He was once asked to wear the suit, and he has stuck with the responsibility ever since.

“They were like, ‘We’re having a hiring event. Want to be the eagle?’ And I said, sure that’s fine,” Fama said.

Monday was Fama’s first Marathon, and he thinks he’ll return.

“It’s definitely fun, especially when you see the world-class runners up close. Oh my God, those guys are running so fast,” he said. “It’s a good time.”

On Monday, she ran the Marathon. On Saturday, she’s getting married. Which is more work?

By Christopher Huffaker

Katie Glenn, 25, ran a sub-3-hour marathon on Monday and gets married on Saturday — at a church, Boston College’s St. Ignatius, that you run past on the course.


“It was pretty fun,” she said. “There were weeks where I was really happy and excited for the marathon training and hated the wedding stuff. And then there were weeks where I wnated to do the wedding stuff and hated the marathon training.”

The marathon training took more of her time, she said, and probably more of her stress too, but she recommends the combination.

“It’s two big things you’re working toward,” she said. “It kind of was nice to have them in parallel, getting ready to get married and getting ready to run this long race.”

She had one recommendation, though — don’t have the marathon too soon before the wedding, because of the taper, where you reduce your weekly mileage in the couple of weeks before the race so you can run on fresh legs. (The taper worked: she was able to dramatically speed up near the finish and hit her goal of finishing in under three hours.)

“This was the most chaotic time, in terms of the wedding, and I couldn’t run and de-stress,” she said. “Now I can finally be like, okay, it’s my wedding... We’ll see if I recover okay and can still dance and everything.”

They were running the Boston Marathon, but their husbands missed it. They had a good reason.

By Nicole Yang

Monday’s full slate of sports led to tripleheader fun for some and scheduling conundrums for others — especially those involved in the action.


As the Bruins awaited the dates of their first-round playoff series against Florida, the Krejci family hoped Game 1 would be Tuesday.

“I was like, ‘David, can you talk to somebody? I have something on Monday,’” joked Naomi Krejci, wife of of the Bruins’ veteran center.

That “something” was the 127th running of the Boston Marathon.

Read the story here.

Dick Hoyt may be gone. His legacy? It was all over the race.

By Cam Kerry

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 7, 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 completed the race to uphold their family’s commitment to the cause. The three would meet every Saturday at the Under Armour store on Boylston Street, running the course backwards before turning around and completing it again. After over 50 miles, trips to Chipotle next door solidified the already airtight bonds that the family shares.

“When I’m running and I feel like I can’t do it, our motto is ‘Yes, you can!’ and I keep telling myself over and over again, yes, you can,” said Troy. “If my grandfather can push my uncle for 26.2 [miles], I can run that no problem, no excuses.”

The trio of grandsons did not trot side-by-side, yet were awestruck by the support that onlookers provided, cheering at the top of their voice.

“Seeing what my uncle Rick has done, he really changed the way that the world looks at people with disabilities,” said Cam.

Danny and Brian Connolly, a pair of brothers from Park City, Utah, and Murrieta, California, were one of two duos running for Team Hoyt.

Brian, 51, suffers from multiple sclerosis and can only move his left arm. Danny, 44, trains in park city, pushing his kids or 130-pound dog in the racing wheelchair to train for marathons.

In Brian’s first experience completing the Boston Marathon, the magnitude of the moment did not escape him.


“I want to jump up and do cartwheels, but I can’t,” said Brian. “That’s how I feel inside.”

“Rick said that when he used to run, it made him feel like his disability went away and I can relate to it because people are cheering us on, saying my name,” continued Brian. “It’s been an inspiration to run with Team Hoyt.”

He helped a runner cross the finish line. He doesn’t want any credit.

By John Hilliard

During the last leg of Monday’s Boston Marathon, spectators along Boylston Street were treated to a dramatic scene of sportsmanship — a runner, struggling to complete the road race, was helped across the finish line by two of her fellow athletes in a scene captured by television cameras.

One of those good samaritans — John Renken, a 55-year-old runner from Claremont, Calif. — said the woman was determined to complete the race, and he was focused on making sure she did.

“We just offered to help her,” Renken said. “She was strong, she wanted to finish very badly.... she was very inspired.”

Renken had just made the final turn onto Boylston Street, and he could see a fellow runner — a woman from Cambridge — begin to have trouble. The response from fellow runners was immediate, he said in a brief phone interview after the race.

“We’re all struggling, and she was struggling. So I just went over” to help, Renken said. Another man and a second woman also stepped in to assist the runner.

As they ran, Renken said fellow athletes offered to help, and encouraged the runner to keep going and finish the marathon.

“That’s just the spirit of the marathon and running in Boston,” Renken said. “There were a lot of kind people who were right there.”

As they helped the woman get to the end of the race, they offered up encouraging words. One person said, " ‘Can you see the finish line? Keep focused on that,’” Renken recalled.

He said the woman talked about how hard she had worked to qualify for the marathon, and she wanted to finish the race.

From the sidelines, spectators also cheered her on, Renken said.

“The people were wonderful, the fans were cheering for her. Everyone was cheering,” Renken said. “She felt it, it really helped her. They brought her home — the people from Boston brought her down that last stretch.”

After they completed the race, the woman was taken to the medical tent, Renken said. He praised the swift response by the marathon’s medical team to help her.

“They were right there,” he said.

Renken downplayed his role in helping the runner complete the race: “If I wasn’t there, there would have been 100 runners behind me who would have done the same thing. That’s the running community.”

Monday’s race was Renken’s ninth Boston Marathon, he said, but being able to help another athlete made it the most special race of them all.

“It was the highlight of my day. It gave today’s run purpose in my life,” he said. “It was a great day in Boston.”

No matter how many times you cross that finish line, it still means the world

By Matty Wasserman

Matt Brown and Lucas Carr are nine-year veterans of the Boston Marathon, but crossing the finish line serves as an emotional experience and feeling of triumph every year — no matter how many times they’ve done it before.

Brown, a former Norwood High School student who was paralyzed from the neck down during a hockey game in 2010, was pushed along Monday’s course via wheelchair by Carr, a former Army Ranger and Boston firefighter.

“The day doesn’t get old,” Brown said. “Obviously, the elements might change year to year. We’ve done it in great weather. We’ve done it in crappy weather. But it’s just awesome to come out and take on Boston with 30,000 other runners that want to do the same.”

The Matt Brown Foundation was established in 2020 to raise money and support others with severe spinal cord injuries, and has raised over $125,000 since launch.

Carr said the important cause and Brown’s strength is what motivates him to continue training and preparing for the race each year.

“I get to help put [the cause] on the map,” Carr said. “The Brown foundation shirt, and being there for him and everyone else going through this, is what really keeps it special to me.”

And while Monday’s 10th anniversary of the Marathon bombing was a somber anniversary for many runners, it also served as a humbling reminder of the progress Brown has made over the past decade.

The duo’s first Boston Marathon was in 2012, Brown couldn’t partake in the 2013 event because of his struggling condition — meaning Carr ran it by himself. But with nine Boston Marathons completed together, the inspiring pair is hopeful to continue racing and raising more money for the foundation for many years to come.

“10 years ago, Matt wasn’t here,” Carr said. “And today, we’re both here together and thinking of the families of those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. That’s who is in our hearts today, and Matt as well and him continuing to keep going … and now, it’s on to the next one.”

Honeymoon? For this couple, it’s a “running moon”

Marion Jeanne and Tom De Bruyn celebrate at the finish line.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

By Sarah Barber

Marion Jeanne and Tom De Bruyn crossed the finish line of the 127th Boston Marathon in a unique fashion – opting for bride-and-groom race outfits instead of typical running attire.

The triathlete couple from California were married just last week, and are spending their honeymoon as a “running moon,” they told WCVB.

In October, De Bruyn was the 35-39 age group champion of the Kona Ironman. The idea for the “running-moon” came as a by-product of De Bruyn’s intensive training for the competition, much of which Jeanne joined,” they told the TV station.

The rigor of the training allowed both of them to qualify for Boston, celebrating their love by doing what they love. The couple completed the race in 3:13:48 and 3:13:49, holding hands as they crossed.

“It was incredible, maybe 100,000 people said congratulations today,” De Bruyn told WCVB.

A day spent on Heartbreak Hill

By Billy Baker

11:45 a.m.: Brandy Vanloo was standing atop Heartbreak Hill, in a light drizzle, waiting for her fiancée, Ryan Beck, to run by. He’s spent years trying to get here, qualifying for the 2020 race, which was cancelled, then missed the cutoff by half a second last year. “This is the crown jewel,” Vanloo said. “He’s been running his whole life and finally got here. We walked by the finish line yesterday and I got emotional.”

Noon: The road has suddenly become thick with runners as the pros give way to the amateurs. Janice Bingham of Newton was cheering them all the same, something she’s done for 40 years, mostly from the same spot. “This is a goal for so many of them. To run up Heartbreak Hill. That’s an accomplishment and it’s important to be here and support them and say ‘You did it! You did it! And now it’s mostly downhill.”

12:13 p.m.: We had the first of two landmarks that will come: first person in headphones, a woman wearing white Apple earbuds. Soonish we’ll see the next line: The first people walking.

12:40 p.m.: Sophia Glazer, a senior at Tulane, happened to be home in Newton for a family event and was happy to see the marathon again. “It’s always so inspiring to come to Heartbreak Hill and see the culmination of all this hard work. I get emotional. You see so many generations cheering and it means so much more after the bombing.”

2:20 p.m.: A downpour came through and cleared out most of the fans atop Heartbreak Hill, but now the rain has passed, and people are returning from cars to cheer on the thickest part of the pack. Heartbreak seems to be a before and after moment on the run/walk line. You see a lot of people who clearly have told them selves they are not gonna stop till they get to the top, and then the second they reach the top they start walking. From here to Boylston, it’s almost entirely downhill, so there’s a relief in catching your breath and knowing that the Newton hills are behind you.

2:30 p.m.: What’s always interesting about the top of Heartbreak Hill, having stood here for at least 10 previous marathons, is realizing how often people did not realize that they were running on Heartbreak Hill. So many people stop and say “that’s it?” Many can’t believe it. Many more are relieved to have the Newton hills behind them.

Gabriel Geay is one of their own, and they came from Tanzania to watch a stunning finish

By Michael Silverman

On the steps of an office building behind the finish line, a throng of 30 jubilant flag-wrapped Tanzanians exulted with a serenade of high-energy songs and chants in the second-place men’s finish of Gabriel Geay (2:06:04).

Benjamin Fernandes explained the joyous display.

“He’s the eighth-fastest man in the world for marathon history and he’s Tanzanian, so us, as Tanzanians, we usually don’t have people who run a lot and are out there, so this is a big deal for us as a country,” said Fernandes, who flew in with others from Dar el Salaam to Boston to cheer on Geay, who shares the eighth-fastest marathon time (2:03:00) of all time with the Kenyan he finished behind, Boston Marathon repeat winner Evans Chebet.

“We were with him last night and we were surprised, because he wasn’t feeling so well last night, he had a little bit of a fever and a headache and was texting ‘til two in the morning,” said Fernandes. “And he was like, ‘I’m nervous.’ So, to see him come in second was phenomenal.”

Former Tanzanian elite marathoner Juma Ikangaa finished second at Boston in three consecutive years, beginning in 1988.

“Last year (Geay) finished fourth, this year second,” said Fernandes. “So we’re hoping next year he comes back to win it.”

‘This race is amazing’

By Christopher Huffaker

Ary Carlos Santos Dias, 46 of Brazil, is nearly blind. He ran with pacers Will Appman and Cole Townsend. Dias placed second in his division, men’s para T13, with a 2:46:15 time.

Will Appman, Ary Carlos Santos Dias, and Cole Townsend.Christopher Huffaker/Globe Staff

“Everything hurts” after a marathon, Dias said, but “I really like long distances.”

Dias plans to run a 100km race next — 62 miles.

“This race is amazing,” Dias said of Boston. It’s like a sports gym.”

Dias thanked his pacers, who make it possible for him to run marathons.

“Doing marathon is difficult enough for anyone. With a disability, its double the difficulty.” he said. “It’s very gratifying to find people who do this voluntarily.””

Dias said he hopes next to make the national team in Brazil.

“It’s alays good for a runner to run faster. Of course it’s difficult because of my age of 45, but I’m always lowering the mark.”

Dancing on his own

By Brittany Bowker

Most runners slowly meandered along Boylston Street after finishing the race. Not Dan Laster.

Laster, from Seattle, completed his 25th Boston Marathon on Monday, and was comfortably dancing and grooving to the sound of his own music at the finish line. What did he feel after the race?

“Gratitude,” Laster said.

He added that “every year is magic,” at the Boston Marathon. He also raced in 2013.

“It’s all so bittersweet. The city is amazing. When I come on to this street I salute all the police and all the first responders. It’s just extraordinary what they do.”

Why he keeps showing up to this Wellesley hill

By Hannah Nguyen

Bob Chicoski, 54, stands in the same spot on the top of the hill in Wellesley every year to support the wheelchair athletes.”The wheelchair racers have a hard time [on this hill], and there’s not usually a lot of people here to cheer them on and walk with them,” Chicoski said.

And this year, he was able to make a direct impact on one in particular.

As a racer came down the hill, he began fiddling with his chain. Chicoski jumped the fence to help the racer out.”[The chain] came off, and I didn’t know what to do,” Chicoski said. “I saw some people kind of hesitate and I just jumped the fence.”

The racer, in distress, told Chicoski he felt like he was falling apart.

“I was like, ‘You’re doing great, keep it up,’” Chicoski said. “He’s just an inspiration.”

It was the simple thing to do — step over the fence to help the racer out, despite not knowing how, Chicoski said.

Many people come to the marathon to see the runners, but not so much the wheelchair racers, he said. And especially on a rainy day, the hill on Wellesley is desolate.

“They can really use your help at this particular spot because it’s so steep, and they worked so hard to get to the hill and then it’s downhill after that,” Chicoski said. “They just need a little inspiration.”

Despite his tough moment, the racer had a smile on his face indicating his perseverance, and the help Chicoski gave him was another reason to keep pushing forward.

“I wish No. 32 the best,” Chicoski said. “I’d love to meet him someday.”

It’s never too late to start

By Christopher Huffaker

Darcy Dewey, 60 of Grand Haven, Michigan, used to travel around the country to support her sister, Dawn Nicholas, in races including the Boston Marathon. When she was 49, she overheard a man on the plane back home saying he didn’t start running until he was 49.

“She was like, oh,” said Dewey’s wife, Becca.

The sisters signed up to run a half-marathon together. But before they could run it, Darcy Dewey found out she had stage-four breast cancer. She survived, and emerged ready to run.

“When she got through all that, she just decided, she was going to do it,” Nicholas said.

On Monday, Dewey ran her second Boston Marathon, finishing in four hours and 23 minutes. And she’s always encouraging others to run, her family said.

“Hopefully, somebody can hear her story, and be like, ‘oh, I can start running at 49,’” Becca said. “It’s the circle of 49.”

At the Boston Marathon, non-binary runners finally had their day. It meant the world.

By Amin Touri

For a long time, non-binary marathoners have had no choice but to sigh and momentarily accept the binary.

“I’ve always only been presented with the binary, the ‘M’ or the ‘F,’ " Danny Riordan says. “And I’ve just gone with the ‘F’ because that is what the powers that be would funnel me into anyway. And I’ve just kind of found a way to not think about it, because I love to run. And I’m not going to let something as silly as one letter on my number stop me from doing it.”

But with the door ajar, they have no interest in going back.

And on marathoning’s biggest stage, they didn’t have to.

Read more here.

They needed to train for the Marathon. Their newborn came along in the stroller.

By Chris Huffaker

Lauren Bruns and Nathaniel Buccheit, of Denver, ran the marathon just seven months after having a son, Callum. They qualified in 2020, but had to run that one virtually and alone.

“And then I was pregnant in 2021 and 2022, so here we are,” Bruns said.

They’d run other marathons and ultramarathons, and they jumped right into training soon after Callum was born. For Bruns, the training was less consistent than ever before, and she ran fewer miles. Still, it went well.

“Going into it, I was like, ‘I hope I can finish this,’” she said. “But it was amazing ... Hands down the most fun I’ve ever had in a marathon.”

What do they do with Callum when they need to train? They just take him with them.

“We put him in the running stroller,” Bruns said.

They first did so when Callum was just three days old.

“He sleeps best in his stroller,” Buccheit said.

“He’s a great little runner,” Bruns said.

Bruns and Buccheit finished the race in 3 hours and 37 minutes. Callum didn’t run.

A hero’s welcome for David Ortiz

By Cam Kerry

As David Ortiz shuffled down the street, onlookers tried to get a glimpse of the former Red Sox designated hitter. Fans frantically reached for their pockets to grab their phones and snap pictures of Ortiz, attired in black from head to toe.

One man, walking his dog, raced to the railing to get a better look at Ortiz, up close and personal.

Another looked up from his iPhone and exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, it’s David Ortiz!”

“I’m speechless”

By Brittany Bowker

“Boston, you’ve got my heart,” said Alex Perrior, 50, minutes after she crossed the finish line. Her voice broke as she described her first time running Boston.

“Im speechless,” she said. “It’s the most incredible thing I’ve done in my life.” Perrior is from the UK and it was her first time running Boston. She said she’s been especially struck by the support she’s seen from the city.

“From when I landed it’s just been absolutely amazing. I hope I can come back and do it again.”

Read more about the Boston Marathon

Katie McInerney can be reached at katie.mcinerney@globe.com. Follow her @k8tmac.