123rd historic event

Four Midcoast runners gear up for fabled Boston Marathon

Soutiea, Fowler, Kangas, Withee among thousands to participate
By Staff | Apr 04, 2019

Boston, Mass. — The 123rd running of the Boston Marathon — arguably the most famous 26.2-mile race in the world and a rite of spring for many distance athletes — is on the horizon.

And among the thousands of runners from across the globe, four Midcoast runners also will pound the pavement in hopes of personal-best times.

Or, to perhaps just strongly finish the race, which will be held on Monday, April 15 at 10 a.m. in the heart of Beantown.

The known Midcoast residents (not including others who may have local ties) are: Greg Soutiea, 35, of Spruce Head; Jasmine Fowler, 40, of Morrill; Kathy Kangas, 53, of Camden; and Theresa Withee, 52, of Hope.

The historic race, hosted and sponsored by the Boston Athletic Association, begins in Hopkinton and ends on Boylston Street.

The event usually attract 33,000 or more runners — including 169 Mainers this year.

In fact, bib numbers are color coded. Red bibs (numbers 101 to 7,700) are assigned to Wave 1 (10:02 a.m. start). White bibs (numbers 8,000 to 15,600) are assigned to Wave 2 (10:25 a.m.). Blue bibs (numbers 16,000 to 23,600) are assigned to Wave 3 (10:50 a.m.). Yellow bibs (numbers 24,000 to 32,500) are assigned to Wave 4 (11:15 a.m.).

Most who participate in the Boston Marathon had to reach a qualifying standard for their age and gender in the calendar year leading up to the event. However, others can participate through other means, such as with charity groups, for example.

Others may qualify for Boston but choose not to participate or simply could not register for the race. So the locals listed above are only the ones listed to have registered to participate this year, but that does not mean that they will.

The 2019 edition will be the sixth for Withee, who qualified for the marathon based on her finish at the Millinocket Marathon. She has run marathons with or without footwear.

“Boston is just one of those marathons that is full of so much history and when I was a teenager, [it] was the marathon that I dreamed of running someday,” said the longtime barefoot runner. “It feels like a privilege to be able to run it.”

Withee said she plans to participate in the run/walk wave of the race as she “didn’t get in the training I was hoping to [this year].”

The newest of local runners is Soutiea, who is originally from Missouri but recently moved to the Midcoast after living in Boston the last five years.

This will be Soutiea’s sixth year running the marathon.

An avid runner, Soutiea, for the past two years, has run what he calls a “Double Boston” and plans to do so for a third time this year.

Soutiea, and others, will run the race backwards from Boylston Street to Hopkinton in the wee hours of the morning before turning around and running the race again with thousands of others.

Soutiea said “It’s really just a day of celebration for me every year and less of a ‘run as fast as I can’ race.”

“I think this year the best part will be a homecoming of sorts since we moved here at the end of 2018,” he said. “I will just plan to stop along the way and visit friends and enjoy a few beers during my lap back into the city.”

Soutiea qualified for the marathon by virtue of his time in the Beantown Marathon on Sept. 9.

Notably absent from this year’s marathon is Ellen Spring of Thomaston, who had participated in the race 24 consecutive years and 27 times overall.

“I have heel spurs that are really sore and have caused me to not be able to train or run much at all,” said Spring. “It’s a bummer of a year. Maybe next year will be better.”

Those who want to comment on the marathon before the race or on their experience in the event (or want to share photos), email Mark Haskell at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

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