All kinds of history was made Monday during the 122nd Boston Marathon. Among the record-breakers and head-turners was 85-year-old Katherine Beiers, who ran the 26.2-mile course in 7 hours and 50 minutes, and in the process, became the oldest woman to ever complete the race.
Beiers battled through weather conditions so harsh that 25 elite runners dropped out, and more than 2,500 runners were treated by medical staff, most with symptoms of hypothermia.
In fact, when the first gun went off at 8:40 a.m., it was 37 degrees, making it the coldest Boston Marathon start of all-time. It’s no wonder the winning men’s and women’s times were the slowest they’ve been in more than three decades.
Still, Beiers, who now has 14 Boston Marathon finishes to her name, pressed on. Think she’s used to running in the cold? No way. She lives in Santa Cruz, California, and ran 45 warm miles per week to get ready for Bean Town. Preparing for the inclement race day weather certainly wasn’t feasible.
— Jeff Malachowski (@JMalachowskiMW) April 20, 2015
Beiers’s running résumé is impressive, but beyond that, her ability to endure and excel carries over to other parts of her life. At 29, she lost her husband in a plane crash while he was working as a doctor in the Air Force. So, she raised three children by herself and worked as a librarian at the local university before becoming the mayor of Santa Cruz.
While she was working, she was told during a seminar that getting the heart pumping for at least 20 minutes per day would reap big rewards. So, she took it up a notch and began distance running. She ran her first marathon in 1984 and, at the age of 70, qualified for Boston for the first time.
Her son, John, usually runs the marathons with her.
“About three years ago, I said to her ‘you’re 82, and I do worry about you out there,’ John told CBS SF Bay Area. She looked at me and she said ‘the one to worry about is you, John, because four of the years, you were in the medical tent and I wasn’t.'”
— Boston.com Sports (@BDCSports) April 17, 2018
So, maybe it’s no surprise Beiers handled the 2018 Boston Marathon with relative ease. As for her post-race ritual?
“A beer is my recovery drink,” she said.
Cheers to you, Katherine Beiers, and to many more miles ahead with suds waiting.