Area Runners Claim Top Illinois Finishes at Boston


Kyle Larson, Kristin Johnson and Pam Staton during the Boston Marathon. Kyle Larson photo by Anando Naqui.

Fleet Feet/Nike Racing teammates Kyle Larson and Pam Staton came through the Boston Marathon finish line ahead of any other Illinoisans last week.

In his Boston debut, Larson logged a 2:34:15, finishing 52nd in the men’s race and more than three minutes ahead of Steven Sprieser of Vernon Hills, the second Illinois male to finish with a 2:37:30, and Brett Burdick of Chicago, who ran a 2:37:35. Though Larson says he didn’t run the time he wanted, he enjoyed the experience and was happy with his finish.

“I was still passing people in the last few miles which helped me focus less on how bad my legs were hurting, and more on catching the guy in front of me,” Larson says.

Larson both trained with and coached Fleet Feet Sports’ Boston365 program. It was Larson’s first time training with a group, and he found that it helped hold him accountable in the months leading up to the race.

“This was the first marathon that I trained for with a group and it helped me stay on target with my training,” Larson says. “As part of our group training, we run our longest runs in Barrington so we can take advantage of the hilly roads in preparation for the hills in Boston.”

Staton narrowly missed finishing in the top 10 American women, taking 12th of all American women but first out of Illinois women at the race. Staton ran nearly even splits throughout the race, running all but one 5K of the event in the 20 minute range, with her only slower split coming between the 30K and 35K marks, where she ran a 21:02. Staton crossed the finish line in 2:52:59.

“This year I did not have an exact time goal, but instead my goals were to be patient and smooth, have fun, and enjoy the race without any pressure to run a certain time,” Staton says. “If I had done everything I could do to be ready and as long as I enjoyed it, it is always a success in my book. I did meet those goals and was able to remain consistent, strong, and get lost in the enthusiasm of the crowd.”

Kristin Johnson, another Fleet Feet runner, was the third Illinois woman to finish Boston, turning in a 2:57:01. Johnson, a New Hampshire native, had dreamed of running the race ever since she first spectated it in eighth grade.

“The atmosphere at Boston was way more exciting than both of the previous two marathons I’ve run,” Johnson says. “The entire course was lined with screaming spectators and I had people around me to run with and work with the entire time.”

Johnson moved to Chicago in September for school and spent most of her Boston training on the Lakefront Trail, but did her last long run on the Boston course from the start in Hopkinton to Heartbreak Hill while visiting her family over spring break, and included some hilly runs into her training while visiting friends in Washington, D.C., where she lived prior to relocating to Chicago. She recently joined Fleet Feet’s racing team and looks forward to training with them moving forward.

You can find full results from the race at