Smyth qualifies for 2018 Boston Marathon

BRATTLEBORO — Distance running is thought of as an individual sport, but it took a team effort for Vernon's Donna Smyth to reach her goal of earning a spot in the 2018 Boston Marathon.

Her husband, Fred Ross, created the qualifying course.

Four other people entered to make it official.

The Lange family and Maxine Harris Stent helped run the race, which took place on Sept. 2.

"It is the type of race that most runners only dream about," said Smyth, referring to the free entrance, beautiful scenery, and perfect weather. "Moreover, the folks who live along the race course appeared to be very supportive of our grass-roots event."

Ross spent over a month measuring, doing paperwork, submitting and resubmitting, so that his Green River Marathon could be certified as a Boston qualifier.

"After I qualified to run Boston next April, I looked for a non-pavement race for Donna to run and qualify also so we could run it together. My plan was for Donna and I to do it together, not as a race but just to enjoy the Boston experience together one time," Ross stated.

His course followed the Green River the whole way, beginning in Greenfield, Mass. and winding its way up to Halifax before turning back and finishing just shy of the start line. The out-and-back is 90 percent gravel and 10 percent paved roads.

"I run almost exclusively on dirt roads, trails, or uphill (on pavement). As a result, finding an official race that I would run prior to the qualification date was quite challenging," noted Smyth. "Having qualified, my challenge will be training and running Boston without injury to my body."

The 57-year-old needed to run a 4:10 or better in order to qualify. Smyth was clocked in 3:40:49, meaning that she and Ross will be able to run in the 2018 Boston Marathon together.

To show how thankful he is for the team effort, Ross treated the Lange family and Stent to dinner at Top of the Hill Grill on Tuesday night.

The results for the first ever Green River Marathon are shown below:

1. Leslie O'Dell, New Hampshire, 3:22:23

2. Donna Smyth, Vernon, 3:40:49

3. David Schillemat, New Hampshire, 3:53:08

4. Ben Kimball, Massachusetts, 3:57:53

5. Lois Sparks, Vernon, 4:07:56


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