If you’ve run the Boston Marathon or if you’ve read up on its history, you know about Heartbreak Hill. It can make or break a runner’s race.
That was certainly the case on Monday as the elite women’s race saw a pack of five dwindle down to just Edna Kiplagat running the last five miles alone. The men’s race was cut down to just a duel between Galen Rupp and eventual-winner Geoffrey Kirui. I saw people chasing PR’s having their dreams dashed.
The name for the hill comes from the 1936 race, when Johnny Kelley (who now has a statue along the course) turned to Ellison Brown and patted him on the shoulder while making a pass on the assent. The pat on the back was all that Brown needed for extra motivation to pass Kelley. Kelley and his hopes of repeating as a champion were done. Boston Globe sportswriter Jerry Nason recapped the moment by writing that it broke Kelley’s heart.