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Inspiration … and perspiration

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April 28, 2014

By Mike Killeen

Anna Krieger at the Boston Marathon

Anna Krieger saw both the inspirational and the sublime at the 2014 Boston Marathon April 21.

Krieger, a senior at the College of Saint Benedict, completed her fifth marathon with a self-described "slow" time of 4:16:29. She admitted it was her toughest marathon mentally and physically, but that she also enjoyed the day and the experiences that only the Boston Marathon can provide.

She certainly saw a wide variety of emotions.

"The race was definitely a really emotional race. Throughout it, people were cheering, 'Thank you for running and showing that (terrorists) can't bring us down,' " Krieger said.

"There were a lot of inspiring things I saw during the race - blind runners were competing, or people who had amputated legs," Krieger said. "Two runners — their last name is Hoyt — are a famous father-son duo. The son has severe disabilities and is in a (custom racing) wheelchair, and they've run together for decades." (Dad Dick and son Rick Hoyt actually completed their 32nd and final marathon at Boston.)

Krieger, who is president of the CSB Student Senate, also saw the sublime.

She ran through the so-called "Screech Tunnel" created by students and faculty at Wellesley College. And, she was kissed by a Wellesley student, another tradition at the 14-mile mark of the race.

"The Wellesley girls were unreal. You could hear them a mile away," Krieger said. "They all had signs that said, 'Kiss me, I'm Canadian,' or 'Kiss me, I'm a senior.' That was one time I had to stop and take out my camera," Krieger said.

"I thought they were just going to kiss the guys, but as I ran by, they slapped my hand, pulled me in and planted one on me, too. I was like, 'OK, I guess this is happening.' That was a really memorable moment," Krieger said.

But she was beaten down by Heartbreak Hill, which is the last of seven hills in Newton, Mass., located between miles 16-21 of the 26.2-mile marathon.

"I didn't know how hilly the course was going to be. I didn't even know which hill was Heartbreak Hill, because I swear I'd go up one and think that was it, because it was so long, but then another hill came my way," Krieger said.

She also saw a strong security presence at the marathon, following the twin bombings near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Krieger said she didn't run in fear, "but in the back of my mind, I wondered if I'm going to get to the finish line and see that something had happened."

Still, when she turned the corner from Hereford Street to Boylston Street and saw the finish line 3½ blocks away, a rush of emotions came forward.

"That's crazy. It's so loud, at that point. They have bleachers set up, and there are these tall skyscrapers on both sides of the street, so all the sound is muffled and stays in," Krieger said. "When I turned on Boylston and saw the finish line, I knew I was close, but it was the longest part of the race."

Krieger, a senior majoring in integrated health science, injured herself during training for Boston, and plans to take a break from running marathons. 

"It was funny walking through Logan (International Airport) on Tuesday, because you could see who the runners were - they were all stumbling and limping and everyone was slow-moving," Krieger said.