653 Illinoisans Cross the 2019 Boston Marathon Finish Line

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Chicago Athlete ambassador Mandi Florip heads to the finish line of the 2019 Boston Marathon.
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Monday marked the 123rd Boston Marathon, and of the 26,632 total finishers, 653 travelled from Illinois.

One of the day’s biggest highlights was University of Illinois athlete Daniel Romanchuk winning the wheelchair division as the first American to win since 1993, with a time of 1:21:36. Coming off of back-to-back wins at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and TCS New York Marathon, and being the youngest winner, Romanchuk feels thankful.

“Coming down Boylston Street I had such a mix of emotions.  Mostly, I was so honored to be able to bring the Boston Marathon Men’s Wheelchair title back to the U.S.  It has been so special to me to have won all three of the Abbott World Marathon Majors on American soil in this series,” Romanchuk says. “I’m looking forward to finishing the current series up in London and Berlin, then I’m really excited to be starting the next one in Chicago this October!”

Watch Romanchuk tackle the London Marathon on April 28.

Kent Smith was the first male finisher from Illinois, coming in 38th overall with a time of 2:24:32. Closely behind him was Lindsay Flanagan at 2:30:07, placing ninth in the women’s division.

“Heard I was 11th with a mile to go, and knew I had to dig [email protected] screaming in the stands did the trick,” Flanagan tweeted Monday afternoon, attributing that final push to her sister Kaylee Flanagan.

Many runners traveled with a club to toe the line in Hopkinton together. The Chicago Area Runners Association sent over 150 athletes, and provided two climate-controlled charter buses to take athletes to the start line on race morning.

“There is something uniquely special about the Boston Marathon. The history, the course, the atmosphere, and camaraderie of runners coming together from around the world. But what makes the marathon so special is the BQ chase. That accomplishment of getting there is as much of an accomplishment as the marathon run itself,” says CARA executive director Greg Hipp. “Having over 150 CARA members qualified and running is something that makes me incredibly proud to be part of a club like CARA that can bring so many people together, and give them the support to do something so special.”

Suzuka Hetterich and Mandi Florip represented Chicago Athlete in Boston, as both ambassadors embarked on their first experience at the world-class event.

Chicago Athlete Ambassador Suzuka Hetterich poses at the Boston Marathon finish line Monday.

“It was tough to qualify to make it to the start line in Boston, and the conditions made it tougher to make it to the finish line,” Hetterich said. “But Boston spectators are truly first class!” It was her tenth marathon overall.

Florip also noted on how the weather impacted her event; “I absolutely loved going through the Wellsely College tunnel,” she recalls. “Watching runners move to the sides to plant kisses on the college students was great comic relief and offered a nice distraction from the rising temps.”

Read about Florip’s qualification story and training journey leading up to Boston, and look out for her post-race experience coming online soon.

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Holly's running career began in high school; after being bummed about not making the volleyball team her sophomore year, she decided to join some of her middle school friends on the cross country team. She also did track in the fall, where the 1600 m race was her niche. Since then, she has run many distance races, and is going for her first marathon at the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon this October. She graduated from Illinois State University in May 2016 with a degree in journalism, and is working towards her Master in Arts in New Media and Marketing.

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