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Western Mass. Boston Marathon runners are off to the races

File photo — The field of men's elite runners leave the starting line in the 122nd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16, 2018, in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
AP Photo / Steven Senne
AP Photo
File photo — The field of men's elite runners leave the starting line in the 122nd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16, 2018, in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Western Massachusetts runners are prepped and ready to go for the 26.2 mile race on Patriot's Day.

The 128th Annual Boston Marathon is set to commence on Monday morning, and the anticipation is high for some western Massachusetts runners who are ready to hit the race course.

The Greater Springfield Harriers will send about 40 of their athletes to compete as a team to the oldest annual marathon in the world – a tradition the running club has done for about 20 years now, according to bus organizer Bob Landry.

Landry, who is not running in the event this year but has in years prior, said the athletes spend at least six months or so training in preparation for the race.

“You take your mileage down and get ready for the big day. So this is probably the toughest week of all… in terms of waiting and hoping that everything you trained hard for works out, that you have a good day, that the weather is good and everything works out,” he said.

The majority of the bus will be filled with experienced runners who have done marathons before, with finish times ranging from three hours, to four or five hours for senior runners. Some are from western Massachusetts, with a few from Connecticut and Canada.

“They have a really good idea of what they can do,” Landry said about the team.

He noted that the Massachusetts runners train “heartily” in the winter months.

“Most runners like the fact that it gives the winter purpose. I mean, it could be a tough time in the winter – the cold, the dark of running after work or early in the morning before work. But having a goal like the Boston Marathon really made that winter go by well for a lot of runners,” he said. “We can't wait for this time of the year.”

Pioneer Valley Women’s Running Club (PVWRC) member and Springfield resident Daisy Acosta said she's feeling ready for the big day. This will be Acosta’s fourth marathon, but first ever in Boston. Although Acosta says she isn’t a fast runner, she was able to get a spot in the race with a raffled invitational bid from PVWRC.

“Like [when] I think about it I'm like, ‘oh my god, I can't believe that this is happening, that I'm actually going to be running the Boston Marathon on Monday,’ because not everybody gets to run it,” she said.

Acosta, who turned 48 on Friday, has been training with 18 Maple Endurance Training in East Longmeadow after she found out she got the bid in December, and is feeling confident and prepared for the 26-mile trek.

“If you had asked me last year around this time if I would be running the Boston Marathon next year for my birthday, I would never have thought that that was even a possibility. So this is really exciting. This is actually a great birthday weekend,” she said. “I'll never forget this birthday.”

Along with hoping to set a personal record in Boston, Acosta’s main goal is to get the medal.

“It’s something that I’m just really looking forward to, and just finishing strong and feeling good at the end.”

The Boston Marathon is set to begin at 10 a.m.

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