Eagle residents qualify for famed Boston Marathon
EAGLE ” On April 20, Eagle residents Robyn Bryant and Anne Pence will strap on bib numbers 19926 and 15085, respectively, and join about 25,000 other runners in Hopkinton, Mass. ” the starting location of the Boston Marathon.
The 26-mile journey ” winding through Boston’s “Clock Town,” past the H.H Richardson- designed train station, through a herd of screaming Wellesley College students, up the dreaded Heartbreak Hill and ending at the John Hancock building” won’t be these women’s first marathon.
“After each race you say ‘I am never doing this again.’ And then you always find another race to do,” said Anne Pence.
The road to 26
“My dad has run marathons for over 30 years,” said Robyn Bryant of her father, longtime local Fred Bapp. “As a kid I would be there at the finish lines thinking, ‘Okay Dad is insane but I will support him.'”
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That thought has come full circle. Now Bryant’s two teenagers think she is nuts.
Seven years ago, when Bryant’s mother died of cancer, running became her coping mechanism.
“I ran in high school and college but never more than 10K,” said Bryant. “After my mom died is when my running really took off.”
At sunrise Bryant laps the four mile Eagle Ranch/Highlands loop. All of Bryant’s running led to her first marathon in 2003.
“Going into it I thought, ‘Okay this is a one time deal, never again, or I will get hooked.’ Well I got hooked,” said Bryant.
The Boston Marathon will be Bryant’s eighth marathon but her first one in Boston.
“Hopefully all of my training will help for Heartbreak Hill,” said Bryant. “My goal is to just finish. And to be able to see my dad at the finish line. I think he will be so excited.”
For Pence it was not a death that got her running. It was birth. Pence ran her first marathon after she had her son 11 years ago.
“I was trying to lose those last three pounds after pregnancy,” said Pence. “The first marathon I did, the whole time I was pushing a stroller for training. So when I got in the race I was like ‘Wow, this is easy. I don’t have to push anything.'”
Since then Pence has run 12 marathons and three ultras” anything longer than 26 miles. This year, Pence ran 100 consecutive miles in 22 hours and 55 minutes.
April 20 will be Pence’s third Boston marathon.
“My goal this year is that I want to beat my last year’s score by 2 minutes and 28 seconds. That would put me under four hours,” said Pence.
Despite all of Pence’s running accomplishments, it is the runners with disabilities that baffle her.
“You are so amazed at what the human can do if they want something,” said Pence. “It puts you in tears”double amputees running on prosthetic legs and they are passing you. That is what the sport is about. It puts life into perspective for me. And it is just something I enjoy.”