Northern Nova Scotia marathoners shine in Boston

Fromm, LeBlanc, Morris share their experiences

Published on April 20, 2017

Local marathoners Kendra LeBlanc and Anthony Fromm of Amherst once again represented Cumberland County well at the Boston Marathon, as did Sheldon Morris of Springhill, (below) who had an experience for the memory books.

©Andrew Wagstaff - Amherst News

AMHERST, N.S. – It’s not the kind of race Sheldon Morris expected to have at this year’s Boston Marathon, but it’s one he will never forget.

The Springhill runner cramped up less than a kilometer after starting the storied race on Monday, April 17, and had to dig down and fight his way through the rest of the way.

I was basically last place at the Boston Marathon and I was so proud to get my medal, my biggest achievement to date.

Sheldon Morris

“I ate, drank, walked, ran, stopped, stretched and nothing would relieve my cramping,” said Morris, who was making his fourth straight Boston appearance. “I chatted with many runners and spectators who are always so positive and encouraging.”

He admitted he had serious thoughts of dropping out at the halfway point, when he noticed his urine was pink, and knew his family was waiting to see him at the 20-mile mark. He kept moving, wanting to dedicate his race to his uncle Gary, who is fighting cancer.

Gary goes by the nickname “Huck,” and Morris had a volunteer write “4 Huck” on his arm prior to the race.

As the race went on, Morris became emotional and caught up in the spirit of the event, seeing runners of all ages, disabilities and causes taking part.

“When I first stopped I was a bit frustrated and maybe embarrassed to be walking, but as the event went on I was proud to be out there getting passed by everyone,” he said. “I was doing the best I could and so was everyone else. After all, this one was 4 Huck. Fans chanted Huck’s name the whole way, which encouraged me to shuffle into short bits of running at times. I loved it.”

At the end of the day, Morris crossed the finish line at the 6:33:04 mark, near the back of the pack, but still on his feet, still fighting.

“After checking stats today, I see that, out of the 26,000-some finishers, only 15 people crossed the line after me,” he said. “I was basically last place at the Boston Marathon and I was so proud to get my medal, my biggest achievement to date.”

After returning home, Morris was recovering at Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre Wednesday night.

Kendra LeBlanc of Hastings ran the race for the second straight year with her sister, Kaili van Vulpen, and they stayed together through the whole race. They finished at 3:47:12, 16 minutes later than 2016, but she was happy with the result.

“My quads tightened up at about 28 km in, and just didn’t recover from it,” said LeBlanc. “We went with the intent this year that we were just going to enjoy it a little bit more without focusing too much in trying to get a certain time.”

It was Anthony Fromm’s third time at the big race, and he once again put in a strong performance, coming in at the 3:03:15 mark, the fifth Nova Scotian to cross the line. It was similar to his run last year, in heat that hit the high 20s, which was not to his liking.

“I did push a little harder and had a better result but that was not my main focus,” said Fromm. “I just wanted to run strong and even-paced, and I think I did that very well, passing hundreds of runners in the second half of the race.”

For the first time, he and wife Alyson stayed in the city during their Boston stay, and enjoyed the experience of meeting people and talking to them about the race. The whole atmosphere still impresses him.

“It is unbelievable to see hundreds of thousands of people lining the course to cheer on runners… and they go well beyond just watching,” said Fromm. “They bring water, ice, Mr. Freezes, orange slices and, best of all, words of encouragement. Then there are the other runners. We talk, we cheer each other on and, when you see someone struggling, you take that little bit of time to try to help them get going again. I love it.”