Martha DeGrazia – A Spectacular Boston Marathon Veteran

How many times and in what years have you run the Boston Marathon?

I’ve run it 18 times. The first was at the 100th anniversary in 1996. I skipped 4 years where I was running in London, Rotterdam and Paris twice. I was injured or sick 4 other times.

Obviously, you have a lot of Boston medals. How do you store them?

All my medals - Boston and otherwise, I have in large glass cylinders. The Boston 100 and 125 were special. There was more gold on medals and they were not the standard blue and silver color.

What was it like the first time you ran it?

Because of the 100th anniversary, it was totally unlike anything I did before. It was an incredible experience.

What was your best time?

In 2003, I ran a 3:13, which is also my PR. Go figure! I mostly ran 3:20-3:30 until the last few years. In 2013, the year of the terrorist attack, I was injured and did not run.

What one did you like the best and why?

No favorites. I went to Boston with various friends, all of whom made the event special. My brother and his wife lived close to Hopkinton when I ran the first few times, so having them spectate was great. And having Ralph there and managing logistics is essential for me.

Which one did you like the least and why?

2018 was a monsoon hurricane with temperatures in the low 30s. I dropped out at 18 miles and could not forgive myself for one full year. I am not good in cold and this was also drenching rain. But still in retrospect I was disappointed with myself.

What part has the weather played in the race for you?

Major changes. On the start line when it was sunny and 87 degrees. Also ran in sleet cold and wind. But 2018 eclipsed all for impossible running conditions, for my body at least.

Has your running strategy changed over the years and what is it now?

I am so grateful to be there now and can accept any time. I so appreciate friends and associates who cheer for me on the course. It makes a huge difference. Thank you Willow Street and Saratoga Stryders.

What part of the course is the most difficult for you and has that changed over the years?

Mile 8-9.5. It sounds crazy but there 26 miles seems like a long distance and I feel like I am projecting a greater effort. Beyond there I am fine and usually feel really good at the end.

Do you anticipate running Boston for many more years?

I qualified for 2023 and will take each year as it comes. For all runners of all ages, you never know when this is your last marathon.

Any other additional comments you would like to share?

Boston is the best. In the entire world. I have run 85 marathons in many states and countries. Boston designs the marathon around the runners, the average runner not the elite. It is not about making money or selling merchandise. They have every detail from expo to finish line optimized. Each year when I complete their post-race survey I cannot suggest an improvement. Anyone who knows me realizes this is major, as I strive to improve everything everywhere.

                   Martha at Atlanta Marathon 2022

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