Vineyard runners prevail in a brutal Boston Marathon

Three out of four Island runners completed the marathon in torrential rain, heavy winds, and dangerously cold temperatures.

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Marylee Schroeder and Katrina Delgadillo get their numbers for the Boston Marathon. Courtesy Marylee Schroeder.

The 122nd Boston Marathon was one for the ages. The supreme test of athletic endurance was likely the coldest Boston race in 30 years, with temperatures hovering in the high 30s when runners left Hopkinton, and not rising much during the day. Rain came down in buckets, and the howling wind became a punishing headwind in the final stretch of the course. About 2,500 runners received medical treatment, and 81 runners were taken to the hospital, according to the Boston Globe. It was the first time the annual Red Sox Patriots Day home game was canceled because of inclement weather since 1984.

But three of four Vineyard runners, Marylee Schroeder, Katrina Delgadillo, and Robert Rippcondi, made it to the finish line, all with times good enough to qualify them for next year’s marathon.

Chantal Desgagne, who was fighting a stress fracture in her foot, and had stepped out of an orthopedic boot to compete, completed 6½ miles of the course.

“Runners are tough people, especially the ones that run Boston,” Schroeder said. She completed the 26.2-mile race in 3:46:51. “I wanted to finish under four hours. When I saw my time, I was ecstatic,” she said.

Schroeder ran the first six miles of the race with Delgadillo.

“I ran with Katrina and decided not to look at my watch, not that I could see it anyway,” she said. “I knew Katrina was going to do great, so I was happy to see her go ahead. The last four miles were the toughest; when we got to Boston, the wind was really tough.”

Schroeder said she wore a clear trash bag over her poncho, which kept her hands warm as well: “It saved me. I wore it over a Gore-Tex jacket and kept my hands inside. If my hands get cold, that makes things a lot worse. I tore it off when I turned onto Boylston Street.”

It was Schroeder’s 15th Boston Marathon. Despite the conditions, she bested her 3:51 time in last year’s race. Schroeder is the treasurer for the regional high school and the Up-Island School District, and wife of Joe Schroeder, MVRHS cross-country and track coach. She often trained in the early morning with Desgagne and Delgadillo.

Delgadillo finished the race in 3:37:02. She talked about the race like it was a walk in the park. “I felt really good the whole time,” she said. “Obviously my feet were heavy, but nothing ever hurt or ached. It’s not my best time, but I’ll take it.”

Delgadillo said her training with the other Island runners had her well prepared for the marathon, and the Island winter, and spring, had her well prepared for the conditions.
“It was the first time I’ve run a marathon in a poncho,” she said. “I took it off after 19 miles. I also wore a shower cap over my baseball cap. It’s not my first marathon, but it was definitely the toughest conditions I’ve ever run in.”

It was the 14th marathon for Delgadillo, who’s communications director at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital when she’s not logging miles on Vineyard roads.

“Katrina and Marylee did awesome,” Robert Rippcondi said. Rippcondi finished the marathon in 3:59:25. “I’ve run 16 marathons, and I think this topped Sacramento 2012, where it rained but the sun eventually came out,” he said. “This was cold and wet the whole time. It wasn’t just rain, it was torrents. The skies opened up when I was coming down Boylston.” Rippcondi said he had to push through a wall at mile 23, but the most severe discomfort came after the race. “After the race I had to walk a mile to get the bus by the Christian Science Center, and I started to get hypothermia,” he said. “That was tough. I had to duck into the Westin Hotel lobby for a while.”

It was the seventh Boston Marathon for Rippcondi.

It was the fourth Boston Marathon for Desgagne. She said as much as she wanted to finish, her recent injury, combined with the conditions, was too much to overcome.

“My foot was not good, and I was underdressed,” she said. “I was so cold I didn’t know if I still had my shorts on; I couldn’t feel my legs. It was about 39° when we started, and it didn’t get much warmer. It wasn’t raining, it was pouring buckets, and I was getting splashed by the other runners. After 6½ miles a runner told me I was in beginning stages of hypothermia; I was like, ‘OK, you’re not supposed to be here.’ I shouldn’t have run it at all, but I wanted to so badly. I’m really happy that the girls finished.”

Desgagne said she’ll be wearing the orthopedic boot for six weeks.