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Whitneys take on the Boston Marathon | News, Sports, Jobs – The Adirondack Daily Enterprise

by Arifa Rana

Apr 21, 2022
Bill and Darci Whitney pose with their 2022 Boston Marathon medals on Wednesday at the North Elba Town Hall. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)
LAKE PLACID — As Lake Placid’s Darci Whitney reached an overpass in Newton, Massachusetts, while running in the 126th Boston Marathon on Monday, she saw a familiar face that brought back memories of a tragedy.
“I didn’t 100% know it, but I was kind of like, ‘I know who this is,’” Whitney said. “It was Shalane Flanagan — a pro runner, a winner and all of these awesome things in her career — I looked and she was running with an amputee who survived 2013.”
The runner alongside Flanagan was Adrianne Haslet, who lost her left leg during the 2013 Boston Marathon when two pressure-cooker bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three and injuring over 260 individuals.
“I got to talk to (Flanagan) and to (Haslet) and said, ‘kudos to you for still being here and running,’” Whitney added.
During an interview on Wednesday, Whitney teared up thinking about Haslet, because she and her husband, Bill Whitney, also competed in the Boston Marathon in 2013. It was their first time competing in the marathon.
“It’s left a mark. Both of us, at different times, we get very emotional,” Bill said. “A little bit, I feel guilty because I didn’t get injured, not in that way, and a lot of people did.”
Darci had finished the race 12 minutes prior to the bombings, while Bill was still running the course at the time. Neither was injured, but Darci was close enough to hear the explosion.
Nearly a decade since the tragedy, the couple said there was still a huge police and security presence. They added that it was great to have the security and a big crowd there to support the runners.
“In every town that you come into, there’s always a large number of people, and I felt like that was almost bigger this year, kind of rivaling maybe the 2014 (Marathon) the year after the bombing,” Darci said. “There were huge crowds then and it felt really similar to that this year.”
This year the historic marathon returned to a full field and was back in the spring for the first time since 2019. Monday’s race saw around 30,000 participants competing, which included the Whitneys.
Darci, 54, finished the 26.2-mile course in 3 hours, 55 minutes, 44 seconds, while her husband Bill, 60, finished the race past the six-hour cut-off time. He gained a charity entry slot into the marathon as a fundraiser for the American Liver Foundation.
“I didn’t make the cut-off time, but I’m okay with that,” Bill said. “I raised money for the American Liver Foundation — as of this year, I’ve raised $108,000 for that cause. Of course, I want a time. Of course, I want to finish faster. All in all, my pace was good and I was consistent through the whole thing.”
Bill said the conditions on race day were both good and bad — at times it was hot, sunny and even windy. He said it’s Boston and it’s a hard course overall.
This was Darci’s ninth time competing and Bill’s seventh Boston Marathon.
“It wasn’t my intention to be on any kind of streak or number,” Darci said. “I had a teammate of ours who had said to me — because we were doing Ironman and triathlons — ‘Hey, you’re a really fast runner, I think you could qualify for the Boston Marathon.’”
“I was thinking, ‘Don’t tell her that, I don’t want to run a marathon,’” Bill said.
Bill said he used to smoke four packs of cigarettes a day and he used to drink a lot before quitting when he was 25 years old. He added he wasn’t an athlete growing up, but was glad he chose to participate in marathons.
“You step back and you go ‘This is life, these are the things, you can either go with them or not,’” Bill said. “I was grateful I was able to go with it. In my past life, I didn’t go with it. I went against it.”
The couple ultimately signed up for a Marine Corps Marathon in 2013, where Darci qualified for her first Boston Marathon and Bill was able to earn a charity slot.
“I figured I’d go once and I’d be done. I don’t really like running because I’m a big guy,” Bill said. “Events that happened and stuff, it went well and it was exciting and fun and it hurt. It hurts, but you get over that.
“(With) the thrill of raising the money and knowing that it’s going to a great cause,” he added. “We’ve been going back ever since.”
As a veteran of the race, Darci’s finish time was fast enough to earn her a qualifying time to get accepted to the marathon next year, which the couple plans on attending.
“We’re going to run Chicago this fall,” Bill said. “In 2023, I’d like to run New York (New York City Marathon). The year that Darci ran it, I was injured and didn’t run — we’ll go back to that. As long as I can keep raising money and I can keep getting in, I’ll do it.”
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