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Boston Marathon Runners Faced Brutal Weather Conditions


Desiree Linden is the first American in 33 years to win the women's race at the Boston Marathon. American women took seven of the top eight spots in today's race. The other thing about the race this year was that the weather was awful. Shannon Dooling of member station WBUR was there.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Looking good, looking good - top of the hill - you made it. You made it.

SHANNON DOOLING, BYLINE: Despite the wet and windy conditions, hardcore spectators and volunteers cheered on the athletes as they battled up the infamous Heartbreak Hill between miles 19 and 20 of the course. Alex Richter is a longtime Boston area resident. He was at the top of the hill, wearing a red poncho and waving a small American flag. Richter says this is a Marathon Monday to remember.

ALEX RICHTER: This is the worst I've ever seen it. My hat is off to these runners. They deserve all the credit they can get.

DOOLING: Tearing up a bit, Richter says the crowds along Heartbreak Hill are usually bigger.

RICHTER: I'm cold myself. I want to go home. These guys deserve much, much more than they're getting. They're getting the prize, but they deserve a hell of a lot more.

DOOLING: The raw weather didn't keep Monica Woodward of Franklin, Mass., from waiting to see her daughter compete in her first ever marathon.

What were you thinking when you saw the forecast?

MONICA WOODWARD: My heart sank. I'm a physician. It honestly terrified me, and this is the first time I've said that out loud (laughter).

DOOLING: And so...

WOODWARD: But she's very strong, so I promised her I'd be right here at the top of Heartbreak Hill.

DOOLING: A volunteer at the medical tent at the top of the hill says she's watching out for signs of hypothermia. April Conrad is a nurse and has volunteered at many Boston marathons in the past. Conrad says she's focused on the runners' feet.

APRIL CONRAD: Because you can see a rhythm in people's feet, and you can tell if they're getting a weak stride and that they may end up losing their balance or their equilibrium and going down.

DOOLING: A steady stream of athletes took a break mid-race in the medical tent at the top of Heartbreak Hill just to warm up. After a few minutes out of the wind and rain, many of them headed back onto the course for the last 6 miles. For NPR News, I'm Shannon Dooling in Boston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Shannon Dooling
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