NARRAGANSETT - From the starting line in Hopkinton through the infamous Heartbreak Hill and to the finishing line at Copley Square, over 24,000 runners competed in the world’s most famous race, the Boston Marathon. Amongst those leading the pack of runners on Monday were two local legends, Glen Guillemette of Narragansett and Claire Gadrow of Wakefield.
Both local runners, who run the streets of South County as they train and join the Narragansett Running Association during their weekly runs were amongst the top finishers in the 2011 Boston Marathon. Guillemette finished in a quick 2:35:52 hours holding an incredible 5:10 pace per mile and finished second in his age group, men 50 to 55. A women’s master runner, Gadrow finished in a speedy 2:56:46, breaking her own personal record and finishing ninth in her age group, women 40 to 44. She held a blistering pace of 6:45 minutes per mile over the 26.2 miles.
As Guillemette graces the South County roads as he trains, passersby may never realize that they just encountered one of the most elite runners in the nation. Although he is modest, the local legend Guillemette is one of the top runners in the country in his age group. This master runner, which is an elite field of athletes, has run over 50 marathons, including 16 Bostons since he started running in 1980.
Even when he first started running in 1980, Guillemette’s natural running ability was a foretelling sign of his future achievements. He started running when he was 20 years old with no track or cross country background. All he knew was football, but after playing in the Providence Flag Football League, he knew he would not want to do that sport for too long. Working 55 hours a week and living in a small two room apartment, Guillemette picked up running as an outlet. He began as an inconsistent runner, only running on Wednesdays and Saturdays with the West Warwick running club. Incredibly though, Guillemette ran his first marathon only after six months of running with his longest run being 15 miles long. He ran a fast 3:07, a not so small achievement for a first-timer. After this first race, Guillemette had his heart set on the greatest race in the world: Boston.
“I immediately wanted to qualify for Boston. I always had dreams of running the race, watching the results with my grandfather growing up. It sparked an interest,” Guillemette said.
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