Boucher Qualifies for U.S. Trials, Snaps Event Record
LOWELL -- Meagan Boucher had set a personal goal to at some point qualify for the Olympic Trials.
She, however, didn’t expect to achieve that feat on a chilly and windy morning in Lowell at the 30th Baystate Marathon on Sunday. But everything just seemed to click for the 28-year-old resident of St. Johnsbury, Vt., and she turned in a performance for the ages at the popular annual autumn race.
Boucher set a new women’s record at Baystate by finishing in a time of 2:42:23.7, shattering the mark of 2:45:36 set by Kate Misuraca in 2014. With her outstanding time, Boucher did indeed qualify for the Olympic Trials in 2020 in Atlanta. She needed to run better than 2:45:00 to do so.
“My race plan was just kind of to be patient,” said Boucher, who finished 20th overall. “There was another woman who kind of dragged us out and I figured it was better to run in a group than in no man’s land. So we went out a little bit quicker than I wanted to, but I just put that time in the bank and just kept trying to put more and more time in the bank so that I could relax later if I needed to.”
Believe it or not, this was just the second marathon that Boucher has competed in. Her last effort in New York City resulted in a time of 2:58. So to PR by just about 15 minutes was a bit of shocker to Boucher.
“It feels great,” she said. “I wasn’t sure I was going to (qualify for the Olympic Trials) today, but I worked by butt off, so I knew it was possible.”
Boucher grew up in New Hampshire and attended Manchester Central. She said she was a late bloomer as a runner. She joined the track team at Central as a junior and then walked-on to the program at the University of New Hampshire, where she competed in middle distance events and the steeplechase.
Boucher had a very consistent race on Sunday, maintaining a strong pace throughout, despite the best efforts of the wind to slow her down.
Her average mile time was 6:12, as she bested the next women’s finisher, Chicago’s Kristin Johnson (26th, 2:44:26.1), by over two minutes.
The overall winner of the marathon was Burlington resident Scott Mindel, a 32-year-old who finished in a time of 2:23:51.2. It was the fastest winning time since 2008.
“I’m glad the wind was in the direction that it was because the first seven or eight miles you couldn’t go out too fast,” said Mindel, who ran his 11th marathon and his first Baystate. “The hardest part of the race was the second time into the wind and I knew that’s what it was going to be, so I just kept thinking I’ve got to get over the bridge and with the wind. Once I got with the wind again, I felt pretty good.”
Mindel wasn’t challenged. Peabody’s Dan Vassallo, a former Wilmington High star, took second in a time of 2:29:11.5 and Spencer McElwain (Saco, Maine) was third in 2:30:54.6.
This was all in spite of the fact that Mindel’s training didn’t go as well as he had been hoping for due to his recovery from a hamstring injury suffered back in July.
Originally from upstate New York, Mindel ran track and cross country at the University of Cincinnati.
“I didn’t run that great in college. But in grad school I started running longer races and I realized that’s what my sweet spot is,” said Mindel, who works as an engineer in Concord.
Mindel posted a phenomenal mile pace of 5:30. He was essentially a wire-to-wire winner, having built a significant lead at the three-mile mark.
Dracut’s Tim Poitras, a former UMass Lowell runner, finished 11th in a time of 2:37:16.9. Westford’s Xianrong Wang was 30th in 2:45:34.2.
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