Carroll proves she's Boston Strong

Dave Mathieson
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Amherst's Shelley Carroll is surrounded by her family as she basks in the glory of finishing the Boston Marathon on Monday. Her family is: (from left) her 14-year-old son Chris, Carroll, her father Herb, her 11-year-old son Kyle, her 19-year-old daughter Annie, and her mother Joyce. The photo was taken at the Boston Marathon about 20 minutes after Carroll crossed the finish line.

AMHERST - Heartbreak Hill didn't break Amherst's Shelley Carroll, who ran the Boston Marathon on Monday in a time of 4:02:56.

"The hills weren't as scary as I thought they'd be," she said. "When I got to the top of the last hill (Heartbreak Hill) somebody said, ‘that's the worst of it,' and I thought, ‘Oh, good.'

"Anybody who runs in Amherst, Springhill or Saint John is used to hills, so that's a testament to our training here."

This year's marathon had about 36,000 runners, and it's estimated that one million spectators lined the route. Carroll says running amongst all those people was an amazing experience.

"I didn't know what to expect. It was amazing," she said. "The crowds, the spectators and the wall-to-wall runners was really overwhelming. It was great. A person was never alone from start to finish."

The heat was a different story.

"I was not ready for 25 C in April. I drank water the whole time," she said. "I was glad I stayed hydrated because a lot of people were collapsing at the finish line."

The crowds helped push her through the heat of the 42-kilometre marathon.

"I started out really strong and I felt really good until about half way. The heat really slowed me down," she said. "I saw my family at the 41-kilometre mark and I didn't want them to see me weak, so I kept running the whole time."

This was the first marathon since the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.

"Crossing the finish line within metres of the bomb site was absolutely surreal," said Carroll.

Security was tight.

"There were snipers on the building at the start. I've never seen anything like that, maybe I've lived a sheltered life, and there were choppers everywhere."

She says the marathon was run like a well-oiled machine.

"They have it down to a science. It been running for 118 years, so they probably know what they're doing,"

Carroll went to Boston with her family. It was the first time they'd been to Boston, and they also took in a Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

"The game had a little bit of everything," said Carroll. "It was a gorgeous day. The weather was good the whole time we were there."

And she says the people were very friendly.

"We took the subway and people were super helpful," she said. "We took the subway after the marathon and people were giving us their seat and saying congratulations. I felt like a champ.

"It's a friendly, warm, nostalgic city."

Carroll went for a 5-kilometre run with her dog Wednesday night and says her body feels good.

"There was no indication of any injuries," she said.

Her next marathon is the Fredericton Marathon on May 11.

Carroll runs with the Amherst Striders Running Club, and one of her teammates is Springhill's Sheldon Morris, who also ran at this year's Boston Marathon.

"He's as humble as he is fast, and that guy is fast," said Carroll.

Morris finished the marathon in 3:13:00.

"He even walked a bit. He's amazing. He's from Springhill but we'll certainly claim him," said Carroll with a laugh.

Carroll gives thanks to her sponsors and charity - Amherst Canadian Tire and the Cumberland chapter of Jumpstart.





Organizations: Boston Marathon, Red Sox, Amherst Striders Running Club Amherst Canadian Tire Jumpstart

Geographic location: AMHERST, Saint John, Boston Fenway Park Cumberland

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