Hadley’s Brad Mish, Northampton’s Elianna Shwayder top Hampshire County finishers at 128th Boston Marathon

A wave of runners start the Boston Marathon, Monday,  in Hopkinton.

A wave of runners start the Boston Marathon, Monday, in Hopkinton. AP

By JOHN STIFLER

For the Gazette

Published: 04-15-2024 8:02 PM

BOSTON — On a clear day, a bit warm but with no headwind to impede any runner’s efforts, Brad Mish of Hadley and Elianna Shwayder of Northampton led three dozen Valley runners from Hopkinton to Copley Square in Monday’s 128th running of the Boston Marathon.

The 36-year-old Mish, who competed in the blue-and-gold colors of the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A), placed 157th overall in a field of nearly 29,000 entrants and first among all western Massachusetts finishers, in a time of 2 hours, 31 minutes and 52 seconds. Shwayder, 27, former cross-country captain at Harvard, led all women from Hampshire and Franklin Counties, in 2:57:21. That time also made her the second female finisher from western Massachusetts, less than a minute behind Springfield’s Katrina Morrisey, who finished in 2:56:24.

At least three others from the area also broke the three-hour barrier, which for the hard core of marathoners continues to be a much-admired standard. Lindsay Smith, 36, of South Hadley and the B.A.A. club, finished in 2:39:46. Wouter Hoogkamer, 42, of Pelham, clocked 2:48:26, and Colin Hoag, 43, of Northampton finished in 2:55:42. Jared Millay, 45, of Amherst, missed the 3-hour mark by just eight seconds, crossing the line on Boylston Street in 3:00:08. Gareth Buckley, 48, of South Hadley, finished impressively in 3:07:25.

The slowest local finisher was 70-year-old Bill Romito of Leeds, but to call Romito slow is to ignore his history as an endurance athlete. This was his 38th consecutive year completing the Patriots’ Day race, which he has run many times in under three hours, and to the best of his reckoning it was his 225th completed marathon overall. That figure includes the marathons he has run as part of Ironman triathlon competitions. Not having been able to train for this year’s marathon at his usual level, Romito remarked afterward, “I figured it was a good day for a walk!” He arrived downtown comfortably in 6 hours, 29 minutes and 52 seconds.

Fellow septuagenarian Dave Theoharides of Whately achieved his goal of breaking four hours, finishing in 3:59:14. The next-oldest local finishers were three 69-year-olds: Tim Gaudet of Southampton in 4:05:03, Robert McCormick (4:44:42), and William Porter (4:48:31), both of Belchertown.

While the weather was fine for spectators, the bright sun took a toll on some runners who had spent the previous months training in much cooler weather. One was Brian Williams, 58, of Hatfield, who finished in 4:14:41. “There were many points along the course where I thought, ‘I’m not going to finish this thing,’” Williams said afterward. “But then I thought I just had to figure out a way to get to the finish line. I didn’t care about my time.” Nevertheless, as he was speaking on a mobile phone while his family drove home, his daughter was heard to remark, “We’re proud of you!”

Nick Hopley, 55, of Amherst, the next longest-tenured local Boston veteran after Romito, finished in 3:12:00. He was followed by Mia McDonald, 23, of Holyoke in 3:14:21; Lee Belisle, 36, of Belchertown (3:14:48); Sarah Bousquet, 41, of South Hadley (3:19:57); Howard Hanna, 47, of Amherst (3:29:33); Haley Sullivan, 25, of Easthampton (3:33:57); and Ericka Emerson, 52, of Belchertown (3:44:59). Brad Mish’s father, Jeff Mish, 66, also of Hadley, crossed the finish line in 3:45:15.

As the afternoon heat wore on, other finishers included Wendy Foster, 52, and Karen Mcamis, 54, both of Northampton, in 4:04:59 and 4:15:33; Gabrielle Cook of South Hadley (4:21:13); Thomas Shea, 62, also of South Hadley (4:22:45); Matthew Westgate, 47, of Amherst in 4:51:42; Jesse Green, 38, of South Hadley (5:50:01); and Kelly Ferriter, 33, of Holyoke in 5:50:56.

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