As Robin Carlson approached the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday, she spotted several family members holding signs.

Carlson stopped to give them each a kiss before going on to finish the race in 4:02:15.

Carlson, a 33-year-old woman from Gorham, was one of many local runners who headed down to Massachusetts Monday for the 26.2-mile race that attracts about 20,000 runners each year.

Other runners from Gorham included Dick Graves, 49; Floyd Lavery, 47; Kevin Mahoney, 46; and Dorothea Rex, 42, according to a list of runners released by the marathon.

“It was a goal that I had and I was really happy to achieve it,” Robin Carlson said on Tuesday.

Carlson of McLellan Road was spurred on by family. Her daughter, Morgan Carlson, a junior at Gorham High School, and her son, Tyler Santero, an eigth-grade student at Gorham Middle School, along with Robin’s mom of Omaha, Neb., were a half-mile from the finish.


“It was wonderful,” she said about the family support.

Carlson qualified for the Boston Marathon last fall in the Maine Marathon in Portland with a time of 3:31. She hoped to run the Boston Marathon in 3:45. She said temperatures were in the 70s on Monday, and she wasn’t prepared for the heat.

Home in Gorham on Tuesday, Carlson described her condition following the race as not bad considering the heat. “Just sore,” Carlson said.

The temperatures had been a concern for Carlson before the race. And she said 65 degrees would be warm for running. As race day neared, she said that an ideal temperature for her would be in the mid to high 40s.

“The temperature could be a problem,” she said last week.

Carlson kept an eye on the forecast as she developed her pre-race strategy. She wore a wristwatch in the race to help plan her pace. She said water and Gatorade would be available every mile along the course.


“The important thing is to stay with a planned pace and keep an eye on the weather and make sure you hydrate,” she said.

She hadn’t previously run over the course for the Boston Marathon but studied it on a map and online. She said the Boston Marathon had more hills than the one in Portland. She said miles 16 through 21 in Boston had several “back to back” hills.

In the final preparation last week for the race, she ran “slow and easy” on Thursday and Friday with three miles on Saturday to loosen up. Carlson traveled to Boston on Sunday and thought she might experience some pre-race jitters. She didn’t want to worry, as she knew it would deplete her energy.

“Relax and enjoy the experience,” she said. “Once the gun goes off, it’s just a matter of running.”

In a final prep on Monday for the Boston Marathon, she didn’t warm up but did do pre-race stretching. “I’ll let my body warm up as the race unfolds,” she said.

Although Carlson runs races all year, her training for the Boston Marathon picked up pace at the end of December. Her routine each week included three “easy” runs of six or seven miles, and she runs up to 20 miles on seven occasions. Her conditioning program included indoor bike riding and swimming twice weekly all winter.


“It gives your legs a break, a rest from the pounding,” she said.

Carlson, who started running five years ago, tapered her training during the past three weeks. She doesn’t have a coach or a trainer. “You learn what works for you,” she said.

She watches her diet, too, staying away from junk foods. Carlson takes a multi-vitamin daily and focuses on eating fruits, vegetables, oatmeal and brown rice. She chose oatmeal as her pre-race meal this week.

Carlson belongs to several track clubs in Maine. She has competed in the Beach to Beacon race in Cape Elizabeth for the past four years and has competed in triathlons – biking, swimming and running.

She described running as unique as it allows her to run in the same events with the world-class athletes. “Boston draws the world’s best,” she said.

Running is all in the family as her children run track in their schools, and she attends their activities. “They’re supportive of me, too,” she said.

Carlson works 40 hours a week and serves on the board of directors at the School Street United Methodist Church. A busy person, she finds the time to train.

Preparing for a marathon takes dedication. “You have to go out and run when you don’t feel like it. You can’t skip workouts or you won’t be ready to compete,” she said.

“Running is great exercise, but is a marathon for everybody? Probably not,” she said.

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: