• 66°

Runner completes memorable marathon

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

Samantha Pitts Sims was set to run her third Boston Marathon when the event was reworked because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rather than make everyone qualify again next year, the Boston Athletic Association created an option for those scheduled to run in the marathon to complete the 26.2 miles in their own neighborhoods.

Sims said times will be submitted to the organization to receive the participation T-shirt and medal.

The run had to be completed sometime between Sept. 7 and Sept. 14

Sims chose to run her marathon on Sept. 7 because of the favorable weather.

She is a member of the Chilton Runners and used the routes they usually run as a starting point for mapping out where to run.

Her finish line was her father’s grave.

“He passed away last Sept. 21, 2019,” Sims said. “He went with me to Boston in 2016 and 2019 and was there waiting at the finish line both of those years, so I kind of wanted to finish there with him.”

When she has run in the Boston marathon, there are cheering crowds along both sides of the course for the entire length of the race.

Sims’s individual marathon was a lot quieter. She ran the first section by herself, but was joined by some fellow runners for much of the middle. Another group joined for the final mile.

“Running by yourself you can reflect on life,” Sims said. “You have more time to think.”

Running with a group gives a runner someone to talk to during a race.

The lack of pressure of the race did seem to impact Sims’s time.

“I just ran … just to be able to enjoy it,” Sims said. “My main goal was just to finish it since there was no competition out there.”

Her first marathon was in 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee after friends encouraged her to try it.

“I ran for sports in high school,” Sims said. “Our tennis coach made us run a lot, but I didn’t really get into road racing until probably 2005.”

Sims runs often with the Chilton Runners, a local group that has weekday and weekend runs.