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Needham’s Mathias, O’Brien make own marathon

Avery Mathias (left) and Kate O'Brien (right) are cheered on by friends and family as they make their way down Boylston Street in Boston on Saturday afternoon during their makeshift marathon run. Photos by Needham Swim & Diving.

By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

Needham High School junior Kate O'Brien and senior Avery Mathias each put in a ton of work to train for the 2020 Boston Marathon throughout the past year. Last Thursday, the event was cancelled for the first time in its 124-year history due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those set to compete in the event, such as O'Brien and Mathias, were given the option to run a virtual marathon in the event's place later this year.

Instead of just calling it quits, O'Brien and Mathias decided to put their training and athleticism to use, running the sidewalk of the 26.2-mile marathon course on Saturday with friends and family cheering them on. The Needham High School swim and dive team, for which both Mathias and O'Brien compete during the winter, live-tweeted the event.

Both runners completed the course, with O'Brien finishing at 4:19.14 and Mathias at 3:57.11.

It's been a difficult year filled with twists, speed bumps and cancellations. These two Needham High athletes made the best of their current situation. They showed the world that you don't run the Boston Marathon for recognition, you do it for yourself and for your love of running.

For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as game highlights, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.

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