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Bagging Boston Proves Right Call for Wilton Mom

WILTON, Conn. – Wilton’s Kristin Johnson ran a personal best and finished third in her division at the New Jersey Marathon. It’s what she didn’t do a few weeks earlier that set her up for a 24-minute improvement over her previous best time.

Johnson had planned to run the Boston Marathon for the first time. The forecast, however, turned grim and accurate, as runners endured 87-degree temperatures on April 16 in Boston. Johnson, on the advice of fellow Waveny Park "coach" Jim Gerweck, waited until the day before Boston to accept the race’s offer to defer until next year.

She resumed training and traveled to the New Jersey Marathon on May 6. She covered the 26.2-mile course in 3:19:03. In a field of 2,304 finishers with 900 women, she was 161st overall and the 15th woman. The decision to bypass Boston, however difficult, was validated.

“It was going to be my first Boston, and I was so emotionally ready for it,’’ Johnson said. “I don’t think I could see the forest for the trees. I certainly wouldn’t have run a personal record there. It would’ve been an entirely different experience.”

Deferring was only part of the dilemma. Once she decided to bypass Boston, she had to ramp up again for New Jersey. “I had no clue what to do for the next three weeks,’’ she said.

Gerweck helped her develop a training plan to get on track for New Jersey. She completed some speed work and a few distance runs. She credited the speed workouts and support from her husband and three children for helping her to navigate an emotional roller-coaster. The support of the runners from Waveny was also invaluable. 

"I was truly blown away by was the support of the Waveny Running Club,'' Johnson said. "I had so many people emailing me shortly after I made the decision to defer telling me I did the right thing ... and then leading up to New Jersey Marathon people continued to check in with me, sending me all this encouragement and getting me psyched up. That was simply awesome."

Wilton's Cory Lee also deferred from Boston and ran in Providence. Both runners supported each other's decision. "Having someone else making that same tough decision and being able to talk to her was another source of support,'' Johnson said.

Johnson was one of several Waveny Running Club members to complete a marathon other than Boston already this year. Other members who have run the 26.2-mile distance include Stamford’s Tim Leonard, Providence Marathon; Cos Cob’s Emmy Stocker, Long Island; New Canaan’s My Linh Shattan, Disney; Wilton’s Kari Roberts, New Jersey; New Canaan’s Alicia O’Neill, London; and Stamford’s Peggy Flood, Flying Pig.

“After I made the decision to defer, I had so many people telling me that I did the right thing,’’ Johnson said. “It was a team effort.”

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