On Sunday, September 14th, surrounded by family, friends and community members, Jordan Griffiths and Julia Wallace ran through the virtual Boston Marathon finish line on Yirrell Beach. In the first of its kind, the event was a far cry from what the girls were anticipating to run in on Monday April 20, 2020, however; they were bolstered by the cheers of Winthrop residents along their route leading to a successful first marathon.
Having a longtime running history together that dates back to 2006, the girls were thrilled to discover that they were both accepted to run the marathon for their chosen charities, Griffiths for the MGH Institute of Health Professions IMPACT Center and Wallace for the Brigham and Women’s Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation. Since December the two have been training side by side, and worked together to plan out their virtual marathon, using their smart phones to record their distance and time. Following a socially distant breakfast outside Griffiths’ house on Sunday, the girls set out on the 26.2 mile run, pumped up by Wallace’s brother Joe and friend Matt Honan who made signs for their route and cheered them on along the way.
“Along Revere beach we saw two others participating in the virtual Boston Marathon, which was really fun,” said Griffiths, who hopes to one day run the in-person marathon when it’s safe to do so. “Through this process we learned that ‘if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.’”
The girls credit the successful virtual marathon to their strong running partnership and to a supportive community.
“The Winthrop community went above and beyond to ensure that we had an amazing virtual marathon experience,” said Wallace. “We are so grateful to all of our family, friends, and community members that came together to cheer us on. Out of the 26.2 miles the one and only mile we did not see any spectators was mile 24 (the back half of Deer Island). People we had never met were tracking our progress and cheering us on along the route. They offered us water, Gatorade, snacks, bathrooms, and so many laughs. Two local runners who heard of our story even delivered us post-race care packages and traveled along our route with costume changes to make our day more special! Matt Honan, owner of Honan Signs, donated so many amazing and creative signs. We got to cross our marathon finish line at our favorite local spot, Yirrell beach!”