Runners in it for the long haul

In April, some 26,800 racers will hit the ground running for the 116th Boston Marathon. Every bib number has a story to tell — here are just four.

Josh Crary (left) will run one leg of the Marathon with guide Doug Trudel.
Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff
Josh Crary (left) will run one leg of the Marathon with guide Doug Trudel.


“Boston Blind Runner” is what JOSH CRARY, 25, of Brighton, calls himself on his blog. He lost his eyesight as a teen but has a clear vision of crossing the finish line.

DAY JOB Diversity programs adviser at Berklee College of Music


“I literally woke up in January 2011 and decided to run the 2012 Boston Marathon. Before that, I never ran more than a mile or two consecutively.’’

BIGGEST CHALLENGE “The only thing I have to do differently is make sure I have a running partner. I use a strip from a towel. I hold on to one end, my guide holds on to the other, we leave 2 feet of slack and run side by side. The day of the Marathon, I’ll have three guides, each running 9 miles, so they’re fresh. Any tiredness will fall on my shoulders.’’


CONFESSION “When I run outdoors, I’m still a little nervous. There’s a possibility I could get hurt, but it’s worth the risk.’’

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FAVORITE ROUTE Around Boston College

His training routine: Three to four mornings of 4 to 5 miles, plus weight lifting, and a longer run on the weekends

PERSONAL GOAL “Ironman in Hawaii. Someone with my condition did that this fall, and I thought, ‘I gotta do that.’ ’’

WHAT INSPIRES HIM “I feel like I’m reaching back to the 14-year-old me and saying, ‘It’s going to be OK; you’re going to do great things.’ ’’


Clocking in at under five hours in last year’s Marathon, 79-year-old GEORGE LESLIE of Chelmsford won’t let age slow him down.

Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff
George Leslie.


DAY JOB Founder/owner of The Butterfly Place in Westford

WHY HE RUNS “It keeps the Grim Reaper away.’’

Marathon experience First ran in 1964. “This will be my seventh Boston Marathon in my 70s.”

WHAT’S CHANGED? “I tell people, I finished 200th once. Then I confess. It was 1967; there were only 600 people in the race!’’

HOW HE QUALIFIES A waiver from the New England 65-Plus Runners Club


TRAINING ROUTINE Two weeks before the Marathon, he’s running 55 miles a week and doing repeated 2-mile loops that include Heartbreak Hill. “When I hit it in the race, I say, ‘Heeeey, here I am,’ and usually go over it with little effort. It’s a good feeling, because a lot of people younger than I am are barely moving.’’

CONFESSION “One year, I didn’t win a waiver, but I was in beautiful condition and really wanted to run, so I went in as a bandit. Of course, it was one of my fastest ones, but wasn’t in the records. I felt guilty; I’d never do it again.’’

WHAT INSPIRES HIM “I don’t know who holds the record for the oldest person to finish, but I’d like to be that guy. I’d like to run until I’m 90, if I can.”


A chance e-mail motivated first-time marathoner CARLEEN TUCKER, 37, of Hyde Park, to take the leap for not one, but two neighborhood charities.

DAY JOB Supervisor at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care; mother of four, ranging from 2-year-old twins to a 17-year-old

Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff
Carleen Tucker.

HER RUNNING RESUME “I’m not the athlete in my family. Six months after the birth of my twins, I signed up for ‘boot camp’ and was asked if I wanted to train for a half marathon. I was too embarrassed to say no.’’

CONFESSION “I have to be honest, when people would say, ‘You should run a marathon,’ I would say, ‘I have no interest.’ ’’

HOW SHE QUALIFIED “I wanted an organization that contributed to the community we live in. Using my employer’s mini-grants, I’ve raised $5,000 for the Franklin Park Coalition and $5,500 for St. Francis House.’’

RACE-DAY PREDICTIONS “I’ll be an emotional wreck, pushing my body to the limits. I know I’m going to reach that finish line. Your body can do it; it’s your mind that talks your body out of it. I told my 7-year-old son, ‘I won’t be first — but I won’t be last.’ ’’

TRAINING ROUTINE Up at 4:45 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; strength training and cardio Tuesday and Thursday evenings.


POST-RACE Chocolate milk

ON HER MP3 PLAYER Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, and Black Violin, a hip-hop string duo. “Eminem’s ‘Not Afraid’ gets me through a tough day.’’

WHAT INSPIRES HER “Setting an example for my kids that if you have a goal, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.’’


Headed for a health disaster five years ago, MICHELE AUDET, 57, of Jamaica Plain, veered onto a different path.

DAY JOB Social worker at John Hancock

Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff
Michele Audet.

HER RUNNING RESUME “ ‘Skinny’ has never been in my vocabulary; I was always a fat kid. The fall of 2007, an e-mail went out to run the Marathon. I didn’t think about it, I just signed up. I thought I’d walk. I was 280 pounds — these elite coaches had no clue what to do with me. But everyone was encouraging. By Marathon day, I had lost 62 pounds; by my birthday, eight months later, 100 pounds. And I’ve maintained it. Exercise and nutrition are no longer negotiable.’’

MARATHON EXPERIENCE “This will be my fifth Boston Marathon. My goal the first year was to finish without injury, before they tore down the finish line. Last year was my best time. I’d love to do it in under five [hours] this year.’’

TRAINING ROUTINE Short runs after work, including hill work, longer weekend runs, spinning classes, and core strength training

FAVORITE ROUTE Around Jamaica Pond

FAVORITE PRE-RACE MEAL Brown rice cakes with peanut or almond butter

CONFESSION “Sometimes I go and practice crossing the finish line in Copley Square.’’

WHAT INSPIRES HER “The lesson I’ve learned is never take no for an answer. When I started, I got injured and one physical therapist said, ‘Maybe you shouldn’t do this.’ I thought, ‘No, maybe I should figure out how to do this.’ I’d still be 300 pounds if I’d listened.’’

Globe Magazine.