ELLSWORTH — With a global pandemic raging, one of New England’s largest sporting gatherings took on a much different look.
No, there were no runners sprinting from Hopkinton to Boylston Street this year in front of thousands of cheering fans. Yet with the Boston Marathon offering a virtual competition this year, qualified runners weren’t deprived of the opportunity to say they competed in the world’s biggest race
Hancock County distance runners were among the estimated 17,000 who competed in the virtual running of the Boston Marathon over a 12-day window from Sept. 4-15. The event gave local runners a chance to compete in the 124th running of the race in front of their friends, family members and community members on courses of their own choosing.
On Sept. 5, Ellsworth’s Jim Newett and Andrew Tiemann completed their marathons on a looping track that included stretches of MacDonald, Maddocks and American avenues in Ellsworth. Newett finished in 4 hours, 1 minute, 36 seconds, and Tiemann came in behind with a time of 4 hours, 4 minutes, 25 seconds.
“Having it in September, it was definitely much hotter than you’re used to for a marathon,” Tiemann said. “When you go down to Boston for the race, you’re expecting that April weather. … I remember that 2018 race where it was just miserable and pouring all day.”
Another Ellsworth resident, Tom Murphy, completed his marathon Sunday morning. Beginning at approximately 7 a.m. and running in a larger loop that began and ended at Knowlton Park, Murphy crossed the “finish line” in 4:33:09.
Although Murphy was the only person competing for time Sunday morning, he was not alone at any point along the way. Tiemann, who was on only a week’s rest after completing his own timed event, joined Murphy for all 26.2 miles as he made his way around town and finished in front of a contingent of approximately 20 people.
“We had a lot of people there waiting for us at the finish,” Murphy said. “Running is something that’s much better when you have someone there alongside you, so it was great that Andrew could be there to join me.”
Murphy was also joined for part of the way by Kris Garcia of Trenton. Garcia completed his own marathon one day later as he finished in an impressive 3:00:53 on the challenging Mount Desert Island Marathon course.
The next Boston Marathon, the 125th in the event’s history, is scheduled for April 19, 2021. That date is tentative depending on the status of the novel coronavirus pandemic.