Highs and lows from local Boston Marathon runner

AB Sarah-Mae Pyndus with her Boston Marathon medal

AB Sarah-Mae Pyndus shows off her 2013 Boston Marathon medal. She crossed the finish line with a personal best time.

Before the turmoil and ensuing tragedy from the bombings overshadowed the Boston Marathon, AB Sarah-Mae Pyndus was enjoying a moment of triumph.

As she crossed the finish line on Boylston Street, she glanced at the clock: 3:22:32; it was a personal best. She had beat her previous record by more than 35 minutes. This was her third time tackling the long-distance running event.

She placed 6,428 out of 23,336 participants, and placed in the top 11 percentage for her division – female 18-40.

“I don’t run for myself,” said the 25-year-old who works as a naval communicator in HMCS Calgary. “When I run, I think about my family, my boyfriend and my ship. I’m really running for them. Every time I cross a mile marker I think of everyone who is watching me and I want to make them proud.”

The marathon started 42.195 kilometres outside Boston at the town of Hopkinton. Runners were bussed to the start line.
AB Pyndus describes running as both a physical and mental battle.

“I knew my race was going well. Usually, by mile 20, I go through a point when I want to stop, walk, or give up and that is the mental wall you hit, but in this race I didn’t have that wall. I was really enjoying myself. I was in pain, my body screamed at me, and my knees, shoulders, and ankles were so sore, but then it went away,” she says.

Upon completing the run, she grabbed a tin foil race blanket to keep warm, ate some energy food and walked to the John Hancock tower several blocks away for a post race massage.

“About five minutes into the massage a man came into the building and said, ‘We apologize for the interruption, but we have been asked to vacate the building. The streets have been cleared. We can’t disclose anything at this time but please exit the tower.’ My heart sank and my first thought was it was a shooting. We didn’t hear anything as we were in the basement of the tower,” she said.

She slipped on her flip flops and ran about eight blocks back to her hostel. She phoned her parents and learned of the horrific bombings that happened not long after she crossed the finish line.

“My dad Googled and saw photos of the blood and explosions. I started questioning if I was safe,” she said.

She went on to the web and was surprised by the posts to her Facebook page.

“I was overwhelmed by people I hadn’t spoken to in years, like high school friends, who instantly messaged me on Facebook. I posted a message that I was safe and within five minutes this had been liked 50 times. My ship was also trying to contact me to make sure I was safe.”

The atmosphere that first evening was mixed emotions as runners shared both their victories and sadness over the bombings.

“One man in our hostel was not hurt but saw everything as the explosion happened within 20 metres of him. We were eating that night when he came back and shared his experience of the day,” she said.

Now back home from the Boston Marathon, with a third gold and blue medal to her voluminous medal collection, the sailor says it’s time to ease back her running. She’s set herself a new goal, a life goal with partner MS Ryan Adam – to start a family.

-Shelley Lipke, Staff Writer

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