Early in her Boston Marathon run, Tiana Thomas felt cold. By mile 20, Thomas couldn’t stop shivering, and knew she needed to get treatment.

“Once you’re soaked, that’s when the cold sets in,” Thomas, a 22-year old Waterville native, said.

Thomas was one of thousands of runners in Monday’s Boston Marathon who had to stop due to the extreme conditions. Heavy rain and wind made for extremely difficult running. Race organizers said more than 2,500 runners received medical treatment, with 81 taken to a hospital.

When Thomas checked herself into the medical tent at mile 20, her body temperature had dropped below 90 degrees, she said. Medical personnel helped Thomas take off her wet clothes and wrapped her in a mylar blanket to raise her temperature. Somebody handed her a cup of warm water to sip, Thomas said.

“When they put it in my hands, it felt scorching hot, because I was so cold,” Thomas said.

Thomas maintained a good pace of around seven and a half minutes per mile over the first nine miles, but it was at mile eight she ran into her first downpour and trouble started. Thomas tried to run through it, but knew she was fighting hypothermia as she began to notice the symptoms. Along with the constant shivering, Thomas felt dizzy. Just before she reached the medical tent, she tried to convince herself she could finish. It’s only six more miles, Thomas said to herself, before her better judgment took over. When she stopped at mile 20, Thomas’ speech was slurred. When she reached mile 20, Thomas was competing at a run-walk pace, and she was averaging just over 12 minutes per mile.


“You get spacey. You can’t really comprehend what’s happening,” Thomas said. “I couldn’t even enjoy the moment of being in the (Boston) Marathon.”

Once Thomas’ body temperature rose to a safe level, she was allowed to take a shuttle to the finish line. She went home to Waterville, and went to her job as a dental hygienist Tuesday morning, sore but otherwise OK from the experience.

“I’m pretty beat up,” Thomas said.

Thomas graduated from the University of New England last May, where she completed a successful collegiate running career. A four-time all-Commonwealth Coast Conference runner, Thomas was the conference runner of the year in 2015, when she won both the conference and ECAC championships. Thomas qualified for the Boston Marathon by running a 3:14:49 in the Vermont City Marathon a week after she graduated from college. According to New England Runner magazine, Thomas entered the Boston Marathon as the third-ranked Maine woman in the field. Thomas said she’s not sure when she’ll give a marathon another try.

“I was thinking I might give it a year or two. It’s hard to train for a marathon,” Thomas said. “There’s always more races out there.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242


Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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