Today I ran my 20th marathon.

It’s always surreal to me when my words are the words that help me the most. It’s why I blog. I love inspiring others but most of all I write every word for myself. To document my journey. To give me STRONG when I don’t have any. To learn. To remember. To never forget.

In this Saucony video – I said – how can I quit if I want to teach my children not to.

I arrived at athlete’s village at 7am. It was empty. I set up my stuff under a tree – lied down on a mat and covered myself with a blanket. It was cold. I went to sleep.

As I walked to drop off my bag – I started to sweat. It was insanely hot for April and it was only 9:15.

I drank more water in the hours before this race than I ever have. I still felt thirsty.

I started out at a comfortable pace. I let people pass me. I passed no one in the first 3 miles. I felt that I was running a smart race. By mile 8 my pace slowed into the 8’s. You don’t hit the wall at the 8 mile mark. I knew it was the heat. I did not go back into the 7’s again.

I was still happy.
Owly Images

By mile 18 – I moved into the 9’s. You don’t hit the wall at mile 18. It was the heat.

Mile 21 was my first mile in the 10’s. I’m not sure the last time I saw a number in the 10’s. Maybe Boston last year?

By Mile 22 – I was sick. Sicker than sick – but I kept smiling convincing myself that *i run this body*

I had stopped at almost every water station. I filled my water bottle not once, not twice – but three times. I dumped water on my body every chance I could. I stuffed ice in my sports bra. I went through every BAA misting station. I ran through water hoses and fire hydrants. My feet were sopping wet – my body dry. The evaporation rate was insane.

By Mile 23 I had started vomiting.

By Mile 24 – I knew I was in bad shape. I wasn’t sure if I would finish. But reminded myself that I indeed *run this body* even if that means walking. Walking during the Boston Marathon – SUCKS. It takes a lot to suck up your pride and walk – to walk even when people are chanting your number trying to get you to run.

I wanted to run – my legs wanted to run – my legs could run.

When I tried to run I started to dry heave. I WOULD WALK. I wanted #20 bad and no one would take it away from me. I didn’t care about my time. I wanted the medal. I wanted to finish.

By Mile 25 – I had stopped to cry. I sat on the side of the road with my head between my legs – crying. Asking God WHY? Why today? Why did he make it hot? Why was my body not handling the heat when others seemed to be okay. Why?

Then I remembered that he is EVER faithful. He does not promise that every thing will be perfect. He does not promise that it will be easy. He does not promise fast times. What HE does promise is that he will always be there.

I picked myself up. I would walk the entire rest of the way if I had to. I would get medal. I would FIND MY STRONG.

If I quit how can I tell others not to?

I don’t quit. Not ever. I am not too proud to have a bad [for me] time. I don’t walk off the course when the going gets tough. When you quit – it becomes a habit.

Mile 26 – I ran walked through waves of nausea. I cried to myself. I gave myself pep talks. BUT mostly I reminded myself that there was GLORY in the finish today.

I started to run before I made the turn onto Hereford. I would run to the finish even if it meant I got sick. I looked at my watch and realized that if I ran the entire way – I would tie my time from my first marathon. It made me smile.

I’ve come along way since #1 – #20 taught me to appreciate all my body does for me. To appreciate my 3:11. Not every race is about pr’ing. You don’t have to be fast or run fast every day to inspire others or yourself.

I inspired myself today. #21 will come sooner rather than later. I plan on finding my strong and knowing that NOTHING will break me. NOTHING. I do not give up. I do not quit. I am a fighter.

I’m a Boston Finisher x 3 and a Marathoner x 20!

Look I’m even still smiling. THIS – THIS is how much I love marathons.

  • Mile 1: 7:34
  • Mile 2: 7:34
  • Mile 3: 7:25
  • Mile 4: 7:28
  • Mile 5: 7:39
  • Mile 6: 7:41
  • Mile 7: 7:37
  • Mile 8: 8:02
  • Mile 9: 8:04
  • Mile 10: 8:07
  • Mile 11: 8:07
  • Mile 12: 8:19
  • Mile 13: 8:18
  • Mile 14: 8:11
  • Mile 15: 8:27
  • Mile 16: 8:20
  • Mile 17: 8:57
  • Mile 18: 9:05
  • Mile 19: 8:38
  • Mile 20: 8:54
  • Mile 21: 10:18
  • Mile 22: 11:23
  • Mile 23: 17:23
  • Mile 24: 21:11
  • Mile 25: 15:14
  • Mile 26: 17:40
  • Mile 26.2: 4:12 – 8:59/avg for .47 miles [note Garmin said 26.47 – pretty sure this is from all my weaving from water station to water station!]



  1. you are such an inspiration!! Every 26.2 is something to be incredibly proud of. You rule girl!

  2. Congrats on finding your strong and finishing!!! Your post made me teary eyed – you are such an inspiration. Way to go!!

  3. So, so inspiring!!

    My friend had a rough race there today to so I will share with you what I said to him:

    It is far, far easier to run a great race in perfect conditions than to run a good race in shitty ones.

    You did GREAT!!!

  4. CONGRATULATIONS on #20!!! You continue to be such an inspirational and positive role model!

  5. Natalia aka Talka says:

    SO proud of you Darcy!!! You are fantastic, inspiring and all around amazing!! Congratulations!

  6. He showed you he was there with you at mile 13 :)

  7. you are not alone Dorothy. I cried almost the whole way. The hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. SO HARD. We found our Strong. Sad I didn’t meet you. But going to LIttle Italy now for dinner and then MIke’s pastry for desert. Love to you Beautiful Dorothy. You inspire.

  8. So inspiring Dorothy!! Seriously you are the living version of Find Your Strong!!! That race is tough in great conditions….God is always faithful and that doesn’t always mean easy!! So proud of you!!!

  9. WAY TO PUSH THROUGH!! You’re such an inspiration and thank you for sharing and being so open with all of us. It’s so true like you said, God doesn’t promise everything will be perfect but he’s right there with us the whole time. GREAT JOB!!

  10. Inspirational! :-)

  11. I am sending a big hug your way. I am so proud of you for finding your strong with grace and with courage! You are so RIGHT in that He is always there for us no matter what.

  12. One of my favorite quotes is from Winston Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

    You kept going!!! YOU DID IT!

    Congrats on a helluva race!

  13. Natalie Sharp says:

    Wow! You rock!!!!! Once again you have inspired me. You are SO amazing Dorothy Beal!!!! Congratulations!!!!!!

  14. Tracking you I knew it had to be getting rough, but I never doubted that you would finish, that you would find your strong and plow through. You’re a rockstar, Dorothy! Rest up, hydrate and know you inspire strangers and make us proud! Heart!

  15. Wow! Your are incredible. I was out there watching today and it was amazing to see every body running in the heat. You were not along. You should be proud to practice what you say and teach every day! A finish is a finish. You can not win them all. Congrats on #20. Amazing!

  16. Well done you! I’ve got horribly sick during the second half of the Philadelphia Marathon and probably should have stopped. But I know now that I can do anything. If you didn’t know that already, well you certainly do now.

    Remember the old running adage, “you never regret the run you do, only the ones you don’t.” You finished Boston when THOUSANDS of people deferred. Elite runners dropped out today and you beat them. You did that. Congratulations once again.

  17. Dorothy – you finished what you started and kept your word to yourself and found your strong! You are an inspiration and I am proud of what you did today in brutal conditions! Congratulations and you don’t have to look back and say “if only” – you can look back and say “I did it any ways”!

  18. You are a rock star!! I was tracking you at work today! Congratulations on finishing! You are an inspiration!

  19. I love your fight Dorothy and your attitude! Congratulations on #20!

  20. Great great job! Way to stick it out!

  21. I am beyond impressed with your perseverance. Congratulations. I hope you’re resting up and basking in the accomplishment!

  22. Wow. Just wow. So so proud! Congrats on quite the race!

  23. So proud of you Dorothy for not quitting and finding your strong! I kept checking on your times during the race & kept saying “something must be wrong!” I hate it for you so bad that today was so hot. :( I wanted you to dominate Boston! :)

    You always inspire me and I agree with the previous poster, that you are an awesome role model!


  24. You have such a great perspective… I love that final picture and that you said, “this is how much I love marathons”– I can’t imagine myself feeling that chipper after that experience! Congratulations having #20 done- I’m sure this is one you’ll remember forever!

  25. I’m so proud of you for pushing through that race, Dorothy! I was thinking about you today and hoping you’d be ok in the heat.

  26. I love reading race reports, because reading how someone had the strength and determination to finish is what keeps me chugging away my fitness goals. Thank you for sharing, and congratulations on such an amazing job!

  27. I thought of you a bunch this morning reading about the terrible heat. You ARE a true inspiration. You didn’t quit, you never gave up, you never surrendered! That is truly something to be extremely proud of.

  28. I have tears running down my face! It is easy to find your strong when all the pieces fall in place as we hope. Today I feel like you became one of the strongest woman I know. You found a smile when things got rough. That is impressive!

    Congrats on #20!

  29. Great job Dorothy! You are such an inspiration, and to push through a race like that, to get your finish, and never give up, is amazing.

    Congrats on #20, you rock!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Loved Loved this post! How easy would it have been to quit… you showed us today that HE is so faithful and you found your strong. You give much hope in this post! Hope to all of us who have bad races, think we aren’t strong enough or good enough! Thank you for sharing and thank you again for putting yourself out there for all of us to read. Your honesty shines!

  31. Loved your video… Seeing you makes me believe I can. While I know you don’t write this blog for everyone to stop and say, “This is the best!” I can’t help but think it is. It’s real. It’s motivating. I LOVE IT!

    Congratulations to you!

  32. I followed along with your Bib number today. At one point I knew you were not going to run the race you hoped for, but not for one moment did I even think you wouldn’t cross that finish line. You found your strong and you have helped so many other find theirs. I am running marathon #1 this year in October. I will be 54. Thank you for helping believe in my strong.

  33. Congratulations on #20! Sometimes we’re thrown a curveball – we learn from it, we train harder, we overcome. The most important thing of all is to stare that curveball down and grow. That’s exactly what you did. As much as we train and prepare, sometimes life is unpredictable. Whoever thought I’d fall flat on my face during my first marathon?! But, I kept going. The fact that you did it despite the elements is what you will always remember!

  34. Rene' Whiteley says:

    Dorothy thank you for this post….You continue to inspire me with your words. I am just working up the courage to run marathon number 3 and this makes me want to jump back in! YOU MY FRIEND ARE STRONG!

  35. Thank you for sharing Dorothy. You are amazing. You are a fighter. You are an inspiration. I hope your body has a swift recovery after all of that.

  36. Thank you so much for sharing your Boston experience! I agree! We are never alone because Christ is right there walking with us! Enjoy your accomplishment and your recovery!

  37. Wow! Congratulations.. what an incredible journey! Thanks so much for sharing.

  38. Laura Dantin says:

    Congrats on marathon #20! What a great and inspirational post! You’re definitely right….He is ALWAYS with us!

  39. Way to go Dorothy! You found your strong and inspired us and others to find theirs! Congrats on #20! It’ll be memorable not for how fast you ran but that you finished strong.

  40. Thank you for sharing your story! Your determination to finish is truly inspiring! 20 marathons is amazing! I am getting ready to run #1 in 20 days and I can’t wait to find my strong. Congrats again!

  41. Christina Aguilera sang ‘Fighter’ just for you and all of the Boston Marathoners on the Voice tonight. Same experience for me at Chicago Marathon 2011. Experiences like this grow you and it is what makes this sport fascinating and keeps us coming back! You Inspire!

  42. Congratulations on your finish. You continue to inspire–running super fast or digging deep to cross the finish line. I am always amazed at your will and determination. Thank you.

  43. Toni @ Running, Lovinh says:

    Awesome job! Congrats on finishing and not quitting…you are an inspiration!

  44. Wow, what an inspiration you are. Thank you for sharing your marathon story today. I had an almost identical race/challenge to finish the St. George Marathon in the heat last October. You helped me to realize that even though I did not come even close to the time I wanted in that marathon, that I still achieved something by finishing, getting my medal, and persevering through what were such tough coniditions for me. Thank you.

  45. Wow! Great job, lady!

  46. Toni @ Running, Loving, Living says:

    Awesome job! Congrats on finishing and not are an inspiration!

  47. A huge congratulations to you! You are a strong woman in all ways.

  48. SO inspiring. WOW. If I ever find myself in this situation, I hope that I, too, can find MY strong. Amazing post! Congrats on the finish!!!

  49. You continue to amaze! Thanks for sharing your story. You’re not a quitter and that says volumes of how dedicated you are to yourself and the sport! High five girl…you deserve it for crossing the finish line and not giving up!

  50. What a fantastic post. You are truly an inspiration! Congratulations on finishing your 3rd Boston Marathon and your 20th Marathon!!!!!

  51. Amanda Abbott says:

    Congrats on finding your strong and finishing…I am sure that there were many of us praying for you as we tracked you this afternoon…. Thanks for sharing your experience with such honesty.

  52. Anonymous says:

    God has nothing to do with the weather

  53. Tough day out there. Way to find your strong.

  54. You are an inspiration to us all! Great job on a tough, tough race!

  55. Wow, #20 really wanted to see how bad you wanted it! Amazing, amazing job! As always you are truly an inspiration. I wish you a quick recovery so you can go get #21 sooner rather than later.

  56. Im so proud of you!!! xoxoxo

  57. OMG, that is crazy! SOOO glad you finished and still smiling. This was a tough race and you did awesome!! Congrats on finishing #20!!

  58. Congrats on finishing and finding your strong today! What an inspirational post!!

  59. Congratulations Coach!!! True inspiration!

    Also – you look really good in that last picture ESPECIALLY after vomiting on the course!!!! UNFAIR.

  60. Wow. You are an incredible inspiration to all of us. This post seriously says so much about you, your dedication, and your strength. You found your strong and did not give up. Congratulations on #20!! So well deserved.

  61. You are SOOOO inspiring! (should have 20 O’s) Congrats on pushing through another marathon! I want to be YOU when I “grow up” (: xo L

  62. Daniella Levy says:

    Congratulations on finishing! You did not quite and you have an amazing story to share. Be proud of your accomplishment!

  63. so proud of you. today was a test for EVERYONE. it was not at all about a finishing time – it was about finishing, not walking off. even those carried off in an ambulance pushed themselves to that point to get there. today is the dig deep day where you indeed found your strong miss dtb. this was, for sure, a memorable 20th marathon. perhaps one to be just as proud of as you are your PR. xoxo

  64. Wow! This is insanely awesome and inspiring. You are truly amazing and strong! Don’t forget to celebrate because you deserve it! 😀

  65. Reading how you fought your way just to finish such a challenging marathon is more inspiring to me than a fast time on an easier course. Sometimes it’s about finishing what we started and you did that today. Good job!

  66. Congratulations on your finish and marathon #20! Finding the strength within can be tough. You are an inspiration for looking the challenge head on and just going for it. Hope you are happily resting!

  67. You ARE part of the reason that I DO NOT QUIT! Thank Dorothy. You inspire me. Congratulations on an amazing journey.

  68. Dorothy I am so incredibly proud of you! I was tracking you all morning and couldn’t help but feel a lump in my throat for all of you runners who had trained so hard for this special race. You did EVERYONE proud. You are so strong, beautiful, confident & talented. I have no doubt in mind that marathon #21 will be your best yet. You will break 3:00- I know you will. You have taught me to not give and to find my strong when I need it the most. Thank you for being so inspiring and amazing!

  69. Congrats on your finish, Dorothy, and for keeping such a positive attitude!! There was supposed to be a “find your strong” poster for you by Wellesley…but I don’t know if it made it up!

  70. Absolutely loved your blog and the comment that you write for yourself. Had to laugh because I think that is exactly what I do too. Often I re-read my blogs and learn from them again or relive the events. It is fantastic. And this blog is no different. Really inspiring and heartfelt. What an amazing achievement – 20 marathons – and this one being so tough almost makes it even more incredible. When i feel like giving up on my next run I will think of you.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience and how you find your strong. :-)

  71. Dorothy you are so inspiring! I am so proud of you for finding your strong today and finishing Boston Marathon. Your strong from here on out will only be stronger. Congratulations on your 20th marathon!

  72. You are awesome! Congratulations.

  73. Dorothy. I just love this. My heart was aching when I was reading the weather reports leading up to today. I ran Chicago in 2007 when the heat was in the 80’s and the humidity was 80%+. The heat is my weakness, it completely rocks my body. I had big dreams of qualifying for Boston that day, but God had other plans for me. I remember standing in line for the restrooms a hour before the race and being completely drenched in sweat! I ended up finishing in 5:12:53. It was the most awful, challenging race of my life. But it was one of the most rewarding. I saw what I truly was made of. I wanted to quit at points but I wouldn’t let myself. When I’m facing some really tough days in life I don’t reflect on my best races like my 3:24 in NYC, I reflect on the toughest ones like Chicago, and that gives me the motivation and the belief in myself that I can conquer anything that gets in my way. Faith goes a long way. Faith in your God and faith in yourself. High-fives to you for finding your strong again and again. Make a special place for that medal when you get home. It really is a fantastic reminder of how far you come, but how much farther you are capable of going! :)

  74. Dorothy, you are amazing! Whether you run 4 hours or a 3:11, you are still my idol. I love the reminder that every race is not about PRing. I just ran my first race post baby yesterday. I was 9 minutes slower than my PR. But I ran my race and I could not be prouder of myself! Thank you for being an everyday inspiration.

  75. Congrats on your 20th! And congrats on Boston! You inspire all of us mother runners to aim big. I never thought I would dream about Boston and now it’s a goal (even better than a dream). One day I’ll get there and your words will help me. Thank you.

  76. Despite the run not being perfect, I am still proud that you finished. Marathon number 20-Congrats!

  77. amazing! way to truly ‘find your strong’. Congrats on #20, Dorothy!!! An amazing accomplishment.

  78. You inspire me to ran better every time! I think you’re amazing.

  79. A finish is a finish! You are so inspiring! #20… wow! I hope someday to run a marathon but first I need to FIND MY STRONG in running an entire half marathon (I do a walk run walk run and finished in 2:10:11) You will keep me going on my next run so THANK YOU!

  80. You are amazing for sticking with it and finishing the race. I was thinking about you and everyone else in Boston when I was running my short 3 miles here in Toronto this morning and really feeling the heat and humidity. Congrats on #20!

  81. Thank you so much for sharing and being real and vulnerable. Im truly sorry today wasn’t what you wanted it to be. You are even more of an inspiration now that we know you are human too. Thanks for letting us in.

  82. Great job to push through and finish. You did amazing!

  83. Congrats on #20 and Boston #3!!!

    The fact that you finished this marathon is a HUGE accomplishment, much tougher than running a marathon where you were feeling great. SO PROUD of you!!!

  84. Thanks for being so honest and real about your experiences. You really capture what it means to be a runner. It’s not always fun and not always easy, but it’s always worth it. I read your posts and get inspired to push harder, run longer and run faster.

  85. I am a fairly new reader of your blog and I absolutely love it! Your race reports are always so inspiring…I have such admiration for you and your strength. thanks for the inspiration!

  86. You are such an inspiration and I’m so proud that you knew how to run this race smart and finished healthy versus than risking it! You are the epitome of STRONG!!

  87. Jodi Stilp says:

    Dorothy – my running buddy Carissa reads your blog and often forwards your posts my way. Your blog post about “I run this body” and “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” have been on a circuit in my mind as I’ve trained for the Eugene marathon (that is in two weeks). I’m so inspired by your post and by your race today. My first marathon was the dreaded Chicago 2007 that was so similar to what you ran in today. I understand the pursuit to just finish what you started. WAY TO GO! Thanks for sharing your story. Praying your body recovers quickly.

  88. You are just about the most graceful person I’ve ever met. I feel honored to know such a strong, persevering, faithful woman. Congrats on a hard-fought triumph :)

  89. WOW! Perseverance at it’s best! I have tears streaming down my face right now after reading this. Congratulations on finishing STRONG!

  90. Way to tough it out. Obviously, it’s not that way anyone wants to run #20, but it is what it is, and you are a tough, tough woman.

    A thought about your illness — is it possible that it was *too* much fluids?

    Hope you have a quick recovery!

  91. Thank you SOOOO much for writing this post. I ran Boston yesterday an hour slower than my January marathon and I am sad about my time but so proud to have crossed that finish line. My first Boston. I was trying hard to not overheat and end up in one of the medical tents on the side of the road. You are incredibly inspirational and this post has made me an even bigger fan of you Dorothy, because you are also real and don’t lie to us.

  92. This is so inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! Congratulations to you!!!

  93. Your strength and determination are so inpsiring…but your positive attitude, faith, and love of the sport are even more so. You did amazing!

  94. Kudos on finishing and on finding your strong. I think stories like these are important for everyone to hear about. It’s your 20th marathon and because of factors you couldn’t control it was difficult. Running one marathon doesn’t mean that every one thereafter is a breeze. It’s all hard work and commitment. Congratulations times a million for finding your strong and not giving up :)

  95. Congratulations!!!! You are amazing and such an inspiration!!!!

  96. Wow, I totally second all the posts above. You are an inspiration to all of us. I was about to switch my outdoor run to an indoor spin class because of the heat, but if you can run 26, I think I can run 5.

    If we quit, what lesson are we passing down? Keep at it; you’re amazing. Congratulations on #20 !! It’s yours forever.

  97. you are amazing in so many ways. I am sorry the weather made it a less than ideal day, but you again showed that in every moment there is something to gain and something to learn.

    congrats on #20

  98. Great job Dorothy! Way to power through.

  99. Congrats Dorothy. You are amazing for finishing. Heck, with what I heard about yesterday you are amazing for STARTING! You’re an inspiration to me. Seriously.

  100. I LOVE this post. Good for you for gutting it out and crossing the finish line for marathon #20. Congrats!

  101. Dorothy – you are so inspiring. Congratulations on #20! You are amazing. Truly amazing.

  102. Yesterday was on of the slowest marathons I’ve run, but also one of the races that I’m proudest of finishing. It was a brutal day out there, but we finished!! The fact that you finished and didn’t quit is truly inspiring. I hope you’re recovering well and eating lots of ice cream!!

  103. You are amazing!! Seriously, I’m so incredibly inspired by you and the fact that you did not and would not give up yesterday. I was out there watching the marathon and I was awestruck by the sheer determination and effort that everyone was putting forth to just make it to the end because of the heat. You absolutely rock! I can’t wait to keep reading more of your blog :). Congrats on marathon 20!!! That is such an amazing accomplishment!

  104. I was following you on the Boston Marathon website and I have to say that I got worried when things slowed down and then didn’t update for a while. I’m glad that you are ok, that you found the strength to finish and made it out in one piece. Congratulations on finishing in tough conditions! No one can take that away from you.

  105. Congratulations! You’re so inspiring! Loved your post

  106. You are an inspiration! I’m training for my first half & it’s been tough. I have called on God many times during training runs. Congratulations on your 20th marathon & for inspiring others to find the true source of strength.

  107. I’m SO afraid to run a marathon, because I’m afraid that I will walk during part of it…but, after reading this I’m sure it’s ok if I have to walk a little. You did an amazing job, thanks for the inspiration. So glad you were able to *not quit*!!

  108. You are such an inspiration. I love what you wrote: “If I quit how can I tell others not to?” I ran Boston in 2007 during a Nor’Easter. The weather during the race was not as bad as the weather before it (cold, pouring rain and wind) that we all had to stand in to wait for the buses and then wait for the races. Staying warm completely depleted my energy. I started hurting at mile 16 and knew I was in trouble. My last 10 miles were brutal, and I walked many of them just as you did. I don’t know how I kept going, but I knew quitting was not an option. Congrats on your #20. Can’t wait to read about #21!!

  109. That was a rough day for everyone. Congrats on toughing out the heat and completing your 20th marathon!!!

  110. Dorothy — Love your post. I KNOW exactly how you felt at those miles 24-25. That’s how I was in the Chicago Marathon 2010. You have a wonderful attitude. Plus, it just goes to you show you how much does depend on weather, body, etc. I mean, we know you can run a 3:11 marathon! Boston was a different story but it’s inspiring because you didn’t give up even though it was not your best race. Thanks for sharing. As you know, I’ve just loved reading your stuff since I discovered your blog!

  111. I can’t imagine how you and all the runners ran in that heat, you made it!!! Thank you for being so honest and showing all of us who follow you that everyone has good and bad days. Your smile at the end is inspiring – I love that you forgive yourself. Thank you for reminding me it is SMART to forgive and move forward! Good Luck and God Bless as you move forward in all that you do!!!

  112. I will say it again and again…..truly an inspriation to all!

  113. You are a continual inspiration, Dorothy.

  114. Girl you may not have come close to you 3:11 PR, but you pushed through and finished that course when it challenged you to the max and that is far more important then whatever the numbers on the clock say. Not every race will be a PR, but at least we have the opportunity to get out there and give it all we’ve got. Pressing onward when it things get challenging is so much harder then just throwing in the towel and surrendering, and you won that battle.

    Congrats on your 20th! Now THAT is an accomplishment! Keep being awesome :)

  115. You. are. amazing. I got chills reading the part of your recap about God being faithful and not promising it will be easy. I hesitate to say i had a similar situation because it was a half not a full and def not boston, but I ran a half sunday, in pensacola, FL…it was 75 degrees at the stary and 86% humidity. Sunny, NO SHADE (running on the beach road) It was miserable. I wanted a PR so badly. I ran slow. I had to walk some. I wanted to cry. I prayed a lot during the run, I didn’t understand. I had to remember I can’t PR every time I toe the line, and that God has a reason for everything even when we don’t understand. You are amazing and such an inspiration!

  116. This is an amazing accomplishment! I ran my buddy through the last 13.4 (my watch said an extra 0.2 for the race as well). I saw you at 13 and yelled your name, you looked strong, even if you were hurting inside – very inspirational :)

    I love, love the way you write – this post was perfect, and your emotions are so incredibly real. My friend had a goal of 3:40 going into yesterday, and as we finished together at 5:10, he turned to me just said “This accomplishment is better than any PR could have been” and it is so true – everyone that finished yesterday accomplished something many athletes will never accomplish in extreme conditions they will never face.

    Congrats D, you earned this one :)

  117. You never cease to inspire me – fast or slow, 20 marathons is incredible Awesome!!

  118. Hi Dorothy :-) AMEN and Glory to His name!! You are a true motivator my friend! Thank you so very much for sharing how to edure and finish STRONG w Christ :-)

  119. Congrats! It was a tough race out there. So tough. I think everyone walked. I did. I was finishing…there was no question! My recap will be up soon. Congrats again! And so nice to meet you on Friday!

  120. Liva Rivera says:

    AMAZING!!! Tears in my eyes!! :) I did my first marathon in February and lifechanging is an understatement.. Nice to hear that although humbling I’m sure this time around for you, still such a huge sense of accomplishment. You never know how strong you are until you don’t have a choice..

  121. This is going to be one of your most memorable races since you triumphed! Great job and I am so proud of you!

  122. Just wow. You are seriously the MOST inspiring runner, blogger, woman I have ever “met” in bloggy land. I am fully convinced of that after reading this recap. You are amazing. YOU found your strong yesterday and you ran that body! You inspire. That is all.

  123. Congrats for sticking it out and finishing. You have a lot to be proud about. I don’t think I could have started. It was a tough day even as a spectator in that heat. Don’t know how you all did it. Rest up! :)

  124. Dorothy,
    Thank you for this post. I had a similar situation this weekend for my half marathon (though not as hot). I was really bummed and pretty hard on myself. Thank you for reminding me that HE never promised things to be easy and perfect. You really put it into perspective for me. God is always faithful! Thank you!

  125. Hi – new reader here. Amazed. Amazed that you kept going and how hard that race must have been. Congratulations on finishing your 20th marathon. That is also amazing. The tough races do indeed make you appreciate your body and the good races so much more. Great race recap – hope you are recovering today!

  126. I was tracking many people who dropped out. I knew that you would not be one of those people. I admire your strength and courage. That sounds so tough. Now please take care, re-hydrate and rest up!

  127. Dorothy, I love this race recap and post more than any of your others. I find the way you pushed through yesterday more inspiring than your 3:11, because it TOOK SO MUCH (no that 3:11 didn’t take a lot:-). You fought when circumstances beyond your control tried to bring you down. You “threw off everything that hinders” and ran the race that God set out for you and proved so much in the process. I am so proud of you! So much inspiration in this one!

  128. Inspiring…

  129. such vulnerablility! I should not have read this during lunch here at work, I got so choked up! I haven’t had this difficult of a race and I admire your perseverance. I was tracking you and was hoping that everything was ok, then I got your finish and figured that you probably had to stop. You are SO STRONG, you didn’t give up, you are an endurance athlete and such an inspiration to me! When I get tired I think about you pushing the stroller, I have it so easy. Rest up and get ready for that next marathon. btw-thanks for sharing the deal at La La Rue, I got a Saucony jacket that I’ve been wanting!

  130. Truly an inspiration …

  131. I bawled reading your post, Dorothy. I can’t begin to explain how inspiring you are…reading your post is just a huge, humbling realization that we are what we put into ourselves. I mentioned the other day that you saying “if I quit, how am I supposed to teach my kids not to” was exactly how I felt about my girls. How are they supposed to be healthy if I’m not? How are they supposed to keep going if I give up? You, my friend, are a major role model, not only for your kids, but even mommas/ladies like me who are only a few months younger than you. What I loved most was your recap…and then the rundown of your miles. It was a amazing to see you really pushing…and then you could see where you mentioned it took everything you had to keep going. When you see it, mile by mile, it really hits you…it really shows your struggle, and man…you’re amazing. Yesterday’s heat didn’t get you…and if mother nature can’t get you down, no one can. :)

  132. Thank you for this post. It is so incredibly inspiring for me to read about people going through situations like this. So often we hear about how awesome we’ve done, which is still amazing and inspiring, but it’s knowing that people hit hard times in a race and push through to the end that really make me want to get out there. THANK YOU! :)

  133. Wow, what a test of mental stamina and strength! Congratulations, Dorothy!

  134. @ Amanda@Runninghood:
    It was just one of those days. We ALL had it. But you finished….there were many who didn’t. You listened to that body that has served you well. It was saving you from disaster. There will be many other marathons. This one was a learning experience. Finding your strong has nothing to with speed. Finding your strong is being smart, listening to your body and respecting the race. You did that today. Much love to you my friend.

  135. Dorothy,
    Congrats on your finish and setting such a positive example for everyone! You have been such an inspiration to me. You are amazing and talented, and I love your positve attitude! Congrats :)

  136. Congrats Dorothy! Everyone that finished yesterday did an AMAZING job! I finished in 4:33, my 4th slowest marathon ever. But I finished strong and happy – can’t ask for more than that!

  137. This is truly an inspirational blog! Thank you for writing it!
    I congratulate you for qualifying for Boston and for a strong finish!
    God bless!

  138. Great job getting through! It looked brutal out there and everyone that made it through (or even ones that made the smart decisions of dropping out if needing to) are rock stars! Plenty of other marathons to PR in down the road :)

  139. Mike - 6315 says:

    Dorothy, congratulations on finishing. However, looking at your blog PERHAPS YOU SHOULDN”T HAVE FINISHED. I talked to you in the corral prior to the race and I stopped and talked to you somewhere between mile 23-24 when you were sitting by the side of the road. I helped you up and got you walking again. I have also done multiple marathons (this was my 5th Boston) and while I have cramped up before, I have NEVER started vomiting or was nauseaus during a race. Those are symptoms of HEAT EXHAUSTION, which can be followed quickly by HEAT STROKE and DEATH!!

    Boston is ONLY a RACE. If you had not finished, it might have hurt your pride but nothing else. You have 3 young children, they need a mother. What would it have taught them if you had died?

    In 2011, I ran the Chicago Marathon and the Philadelphia Marathon. In both races, I ran past some guy around the 25-26 mile mark that was down and being attended to my EMT’s. In both of those races, the guy DIED!!! What is even more errie is that I think I may have spoken to the guy that died in the starting corral at Philly. He was a 40 year old guy, who was a sub-3 hour marathoner and had done the Lake Placid Ironman.

    What is also scary is reading all these posts about how you are an inspiration to other people. My fear is that somebody will read your post and not listen to their body when it tells them to stop.

    Please be careful and remember it’s ONLY a RACE that you are doing because you want to.

  140. @ Mike – 6315:
    Mike –

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    Yes I knew it was heat exhaustion I was suffering from – I have also gotten sick in races before and know the symptoms all too well. I am also someone who LISTENS to my body EVERY single day. I have never been injured because of this.

    My children are always my TOP priority and were on my mind the entire race. I don’t think it’s fair for you or anyone else for that matter to judge whether I should have stopped or not. Not finishing was not about my pride. It was about finishing what I started while listening to my body and not giving up because the going got tough. It was hard out there for everyone. Should everyone that felt terrible have stopped? You didn’t look in great shape either – should you have stopped? That is not for me to judge.

    I started throwing up after I drank something other than water. I know that in races my stomach can only handle water – so in a sense I know I am to blame for the vomitting. At the next water station I dumped out what I was drinking and re-filled back up with water.

    If you had been a regular reader of my blog – I bet you wouldn’t have written this comment. You would know more about me and how I live my life. I never take unnecessary risks.

    I don’t think anyone who has been reading my blog would look at the comments of people telling me I did a great job and think that they too should push through what I did. Further if someone does copy what I have done that is a personal choice. Just like it was a personal choice for everyone who decided to tackle the Boston Marathon on Monday knowing full well that there were semi dangerous conditions.

    Further – I have written many posts talking about how races are just races and that our lives and the lives of our children are more important. It’s why I am outspoken against women running marathons while pregnant. There are many more years for races and marathons.

    #20 was not about my pride – it was about getting it done when the going got tough, while listening to my body. I could have run to the finish and thrown up the whole way [like many other stories I’ve heard] – I listened to my body – sucked up my pride and walked [because that is what my body wanted] the loudest part of the Boston Marathon.

    Thanks for your thoughts – hope you have a nice day and are recovering well – Dorothy

  141. Congrats! This was marathon #22 for me and I have to say that its was one if the toughest, if not the toughest one I have done. Great post and very inspiring.

  142. Hey Girl,

    I’m so inspired by your patient perseverance this weekend. It sure was a HOT one! When life (or a race) just doesn’t go our way, it can be so defeating. Way to NOT give up, way to FIND your purpose on Monday! Way to be BIGGER than the circumstances that surrounded you. My spirit is continually renewed by Hope that does not disappoint and it is cool to see you honor the struggle and the victory in your daily life and writings. Keep your head up and your heart strong! You are incredible.

  143. CONGRATS!!! good for you for powering through..its pretty amazing what the body is capable of. it was definitely toasty come race day…you and the rest of the runners are incredible. CONGRATS!

  144. You are amazing. Amazing. and beautiful. and strong. So glad I found this post…and this blog.

  145. Inspiring words and a courageous effort during a tough marathon. Congratulations and good luck with #21!!

  146. it’s true! You are human! I have seen many of those numbers before… well, to be honest, I have seen from mile 15 on. LOL. And that is with me not puking and suffering from heat exhaustion. You found your strong and finished. That is all that is important. Great job.

  147. You are such an inspiration! I hope someday I am able to complete my own 20th marathon. I gave you and all of my other heroes a shout-out in my latest post because you women are amazing! :) Congrats on surviving and finishing!

  148. Congrats on #20 and Boston x 3!!!!! What a great post. You are an amazing runner and an even amazing woman. Be very proud……you deserve it!

  149. Congrats on the finish… you are AMAZING… I fought nausea as well. It was a tough race but one that deserves even more celebration now that you finished!! Once again, congrats!

  150. Mike - 6315 says:

    @ Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal:
    Thanks for the response. I have never read your blog before. Apparently, a lot of people do.

    Unfortunately, I really don’t have time to read blogs very often. I only remembered your number and wanted to see if you finished. Then happened to google your name and saw your blog. After reading it, I was worried that you may push yourself too hard and with three young kids the importance of a race seem miniscule.

    My race was aweful, but I too pushed through. I never started vomiting, just leg cramps. Had I started vomiting, I think I would have stopped.

    Good Luck to you. I’m recovering fine, legs are a little stiff, I will probably go out and try to run a mile or two tonight. I find that helps flush out the lactic acid and my legs seem to recover quicker. – Mike

  151. I am SO proud of you for pushing through and finishing that race despite it all. That in itself speaks volumes about your heart and soul. You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story!

  152. I was there Monday and am Boston finisher x 1 and marathoner x 16. It wasn’t a day for pushing it even at the end, it was a day to try and make the finish line upright.

  153. Absolutely amazing! You have inspired me beyond words. This is a beautiful post – I loved every last work of it.

    Congrats on Marathon 20 and another Boston Finish – WOW! I am amazed by you and all you have accomplished. I can’t imagine how tough it was out there and you did it – my hats off to you, my friend! :)

  154. Congrats on making it was a tough day….crazy hot…

  155. YOU are an inspiration! :-) Congrats!!

  156. I followed your race on the Boston website and figured something was up. You are so courageous! I think (not that I would know, marathon novice here) that the marathon is just a different beast than any other race. There are so many factors that are out of your control. I think it’s amazing that you finished strong and are grinning in all those pictures. Way to go! You are awesome. :)

  157. Thanks for sharing your story!
    It sounds almost like mine… Boston 2012 was my 10th marathon and my slowest one. (and the toughest one ever)
    I was ready to run 3:15-3:20 and instead did 4:06.
    Isn’t it amazing- 6days after running my worst race ever, I am ready and inspired to run my next marathon… we are actually so privileged- how many people can say they have ran 20 marathons? I am sure you are going to run 100 or more!

  158. I am inspired by the your hard work and determination. I ran my first marathon last year, and although it wasn’t as hot as it was this year in Boston, it was hot for Pittsburgh. I clearly over hydrated and as a result vomited for an hour afterwards. I feel bad that you got sick, but felt better knowing that even experienced runners can have those side effects from pushing through the heat. Thanks for sharing.

  159. Wow…you inspire me to be a better runner…congratulations on Boston…way to go…way to find your strong.

  160. Heather says:

    Wow. That was truly inspiring. Thank you for this. Thank you for reminding me that it’s about finishing – you don’t always have to PR. But we are out there doing it!! Thank you for finishing to inspire so many of us to do the same!

  161. You are such an inspiration. Way to go! Congratulations!
    Wish you all the best in completing many more marathons and inspiring even more!

  162. Awww – thank you Bee :)

  163. Lauradegnan says:

    @Mike – 6315 I saw that poor man die right in front of me. It’s haunted me ever since then and has given me a newfound respect for my body and when to stop and listen to it. Prior to this tradegy, I would say that I would keep running no matter what, but now I will stop if I felt anything unusual. I think it’s extremely difficult to put your pride aside and “give up.”

  164. This makes me think maybe, I could run a marathon. Maybe? I did my first half in March and posted about it here.

  165. YOU are inspiring! I am a pretty new runner so I can only hope to run ONE marathon someday, much less twenty!

  166. Just found your blog and I love this story. I am trying to decide if I want to ever run a marathon and I find this inspiring. Your perseverance is incredible. So glad you finished and are looking forward to your next marathon.


  1. […] sure to read Dorothy’s recap – it is truly […]

  2. […] discovered a blogger who inspires me to be a better runner and a stronger woman.  Have you read Mile Posts?  If not, you […]

  3. […] Boston Marathon 2012: Mile by Mile (Mile Posts): You don’t hit the wall at the 8 mile mark. I knew it was the heat….Mile 21 was my first mile in the 10′s. I’m not sure the last time I saw a number in the 10′s…By Mile 23 I had started vomiting….[more at link] […]

  4. […] Boston Marathon 2012: Mile by Mile (Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal): You don’t hit the wall at the 8 mile mark. I knew it was the heat….Mile 21 was my first mile in the 10′s. I’m not sure the last time I saw a number in the 10′s…By Mile 23 I had started vomiting….[more at link] […]

  5. […] MilePosts — Dorothy Beal "By Mile 25 – I had stopped to cry. I sat on the side of the road with my head between my legs – crying." […]

  6. […] A quick little post for the morning – a follow up to my Boston Race Recap that can be found HERE. […]

  7. […] Dorothy had a lets call it “unforgetable race” as the 80 degree weather made it difficult.  Check out her story of perserverance and how she found her strong that day here: […]

  8. […] single person I know who ran kicked butt and ran faster than I’ve ever done it. And even Dorothy Beal, whose blog I love and who gutted out a tough race had more than an amazing story to te…, and a video campaign with Saucony (!!) to […]

  9. […] finishing times in 20+ years. Conditions were horrible, and over at Mile Posts, Dorothy wrote a race recap that sparked a LOT of controversy. She refused to quit just because she wasn’t going to be […]

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