By Lily Ford
Students and alumni of the University of New Hampshire beat the rain on Marathon Monday and finished the 199th Boston Marathon.
Everyone had a good reason to run. Kelly Donahue, a 2012 Paul College graduate ran for the Patriots Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit organization funded by the New England Patriots.
“Crossing the finish line was amazing because all of my friends had waited for me on Boylston,” Donahue said. “They waited through the downpour and I was so happy to have them there to see me cross.”
The weather took a toll on every competitor. It made the race more difficult, but athletes still made their way to the finish line, and spectators cheered them on all the while.
“The hardest part was definitely the weather,” Donahue said. “It got worse as we got farther down the course which was also really discouraging.”
Another UNH student that finished the race was Alex Leuchanka, a graduate student who ended up finishing 50th out of 30,000 runners.
Leuchanka also will receive the Basil J.F. Mott award. He is also being recognized for his leadership with the other graduate students.
Matthew Manning, a College of Engineering and Physical Sciences graduate finished his eighth Boston marathon in 2.39.05. Another UNH 2008 grad that broke the three-hour mark is Steve Hennigar, a former nutritional science major who finished at 2.42.57.
Fans were sparse on Monday, but they still cheered for the Wildcats who crossed the finish line.
“I loved the crowd and they really did help with the adrenaline,” Donahue said. “This year since the crowd was so thin due to weather I was so thankful to everyone who was out there waiting for the runners and helping us get through the course.”
Leuchanka fed off the crowd’s energy, throwing his hands up to make people cheer louder as he sped up at their encouragement. This enthusiasm helped make him the first runner from New Hampshire to finish the marathon.
For many UNH alumni, it was not their first time running.
This was the ninth Boston Marathon for Dan Fiore, and third for Will Locandro. It was the 12th Boston Marathon for Stacey Michne, and fifth for Tracy Lambert.
The Wildcats ran for many different foundations. Mike Elliott ran for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Keith Levitsky for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training and Maureen Gillespie ran for PAWS New England.