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Boston Marathon comes to McMinnville

Anne Hunter Myers, left, comes through the finish line made by her friends Monday.

When Anne Hunter Myers couldn’t go to Boston, she and her friends and family brought the Boston Marathon to McMinnville.

On Labor Day, Myers completed the virtual Boston Marathon, doing a 26.2-mile run from Vervilla Road and through Westwood. She did the whole run with her friend Sarah Hoover and was able to complete the trek in front of friends and family.

“My daughter Mary, who was born on Patriot’s Day 2010, got to see me run a marathon for the first time,” said Myers. “My twins, George and Catherine, handed me water and yelled for us at some many points. Ben, my husband, drove them around so they could see the run unfold. Zach Sutton, my friend and therapist, accompanied the Myers cheer squad and danced. And our friends Emily Stefanick, Noah Stefanick and Jen Miller constructed a balloon arch for the finish.

“It was extremely endearing and I will never forget this year’s race and all the things everyone did to make it special.”

Myers has spent years planning her schedule around Boston Marathon qualifying so she can compete against the best runners in the world. It’s a grueling process, consisting of months of waking up at 4:30 a.m. to run. On the weekends, Myers completes her longest runs, usually accompanied by one day off for the week.

“As a mother of three children with a full-time job, training does not happen by accident. It is a challenge to qualify every time and I never take it for granted,” said Myers.

Myers and Hoover had their sights set on a holiday weekend in Boston this year, but COVID-19 concerns caused the race to be changed to a virtual contest. The Boston Marathon averages over 30,000 runners most years, with runners having to submit multiple marathon times to even earn a bid.

Myers took it hard when the race was switched to a virtual competition, but her friends and family made it an amazing experience.

“When we in the running community found out that the Boston Marathon would be a virtual event, it was crushing. I have always described the Boston Marathon as runners’ Christmas, but this year would be different. We were not going to have the trip to the big city. We were not going to have the cheering crowds assembled to watch the historic race and observe Patriots' Day. It would just be us lacing up our shoes in small groups, but doing the thing we loved to do,” said Myers.

When she began pounding out miles on the streets of McMinnville, Myers realized it was still going to be a special thing.

“I hope to compete again in Boston, but I feel happy, proud and grateful to have completed Boston here in McMinnville with my good friend Sarah,” said Myers.

Myers ran as part of the MR8 team and the Martin Richard Foundation. Martin Richard was the young victim in the 2013 bombings and his family established the foundation to promote peace and community engagement.

Myers and Sarah Hoover chat following Monday's marathon.

“This group was incredibly inspiring and helpful as we trained for the delayed and eventually virtual version of this year’s marathon. We have supported each other, continued to raise funds and found purpose for our training. Our runners’ Christmas turned into an opportunity to help others and carry on without the promise of a big city finale,” said Myers.

Boston, McMinnville, the moon – it seems like Myers would run anywhere if given the opportunity.

“Being a runner is an extension of who I am. It helps me handle stress, stay healthy and stay goal oriented. It helps me bring my best to my family and students. It helps me handle setbacks and provides a chance to focus. Besides my incredible family and friend group, running is one of the greatest gifts of my life,” said Myers.

More inspiring stories of runners of the Boston Marathon can be found at the event’s website at Myers has read many, finding the same kind of passion for the sport she has daily.

“It is really exciting to know so many are united in this effort to experience the Boston Marathon collectively, even if we can not be together. It speaks to the love runners have for this race and the passion motivating runners to train independently for this beloved event,” said Myers. “This is obviously a huge love affair I have with this race and this sport.”

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