It’s not about how you start, but how you finish.
Lauren Philbrook and Daniel Craighead, both of State College, have learned that after years of distance running.
They were the top male and female Pennsylvania runners in Monday’s Boston Marathon. Philbrook, who has cut about 19 minutes off her time since first running the marathon in 2012, finished in 2 hours, 41 minutes, 17 seconds. She placed 16th among women.
“I was less nervous for this one than in (the) past,” Philbrook said. “I’ve had more experience, and I thought a lot about how I could improve. I ran slower to start, because I thought I started out too fast the last three years. It’s hard to hold back at the very beginning.”
She also had help from Boston Athletic Association coach Terry Shea.
“I think his help writing workouts and talking about the race has made a big difference,” Philbrook said.
It was Craighead’s first time running the Boston Marathon, and, with a time of 2 hours, 27 minutes, 53 seconds, he placed 64th among all runners.
“I was pretty nervous, because I’m not used to being at races with so many people and so many runners faster than me,” he said. “I definitely went too fast the first half of the race, which I usually don’t, but you just get so excited in that atmosphere your first time. I knew it would come back to bite me.”
He wanted to quit the last four miles, but kept telling himself it wasn’t an option.
Craighead didn’t want to let himself down after working so hard to get into the marathon. He didn’t want to let down the crowd, which grew bigger and louder with each mile. And he didn’t want to let down his parents, because they were waiting for him to finish.
“After I got through the crowd at the finish they found me,” Craighead said. “It was great to have them there. They had warm clothes for me, which I was really happy about, but I think they were more excited than I was at that point.”
Philbrook’s father, Dana Philbrook, met her at the finish.
She started running with him when she was 9 in Hopkinton, Mass., the same small town where the Boston Marathon begins. They’ve bonded through running ever since.
“My dad is always there,” Philbrook said. “He bikes along the course and stops to see me at different points, and he’s always there for me at the finish.”
It wasn’t just about finishing for Philbrook and Craighead, but also knowing who was waiting for them when they got there.