It took Lindsay Devers months of training and meticulous planning to plot out her marathon-length run along the Boston riverside to spell out an inspirational message for her city.
But in the end, she forgot one important thing — the letter N.
“I even sent a screenshot to my six friends before and one of my marathon coaches saying, ‘Hey, I’m thinking of doing this route. Can you read what this says?'” Devers told As It Happens host Carol Off.
“It said ‘Boston Strog’ and nobody picked up on it.”
She was, of course, trying to spell “Boston Strong” — the mantra of hope and resilience that emerged in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
Devers, a nurse anaesthetist at the Massachusetts General Hospital, had long been training to run the actual Boston Marathon on Monday, but it was postponed due to pandemic restrictions.
So she decided to run her own marathon — 42 kilometres that started at the Boston Common and looped back.
“I think [I did it] just to prove to myself that I could do it. You know, I put in five months of training, got up at 4:30-5:00 in morning to go running before work, and I just wanted to see something through,” she said.
“All these times that we are currently having are so uncertain and I just wanted to, like, show that there’s a little bit of normalcy still in life.”
So she strapped on a hydration pack with two litres of water, along with a stash of energy gels and jelly beans, and hit the streets. She tracked her run using the GPS app Strava, which illustrated her route.
She didn’t catch the typo until the very end.
“I pulled up the app and I instantly was like, oh no, I spelled it wrong ,” she said.
Despite the initial frustration, Devers is keeping a good sense of humour about the gaffe.
“I think a lot of people are inspired by it. And a lot of people have had some really good laughs,” she said. “So I think it’s a great comic relief in this stressful period.”
‘You’re basically everything to a patient’
It was also a welcome break from her work in a hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think one of the hardest things right now is seeing everybody alone,” Devers said of her job.
“Most hospitals across the country have placed visitor restrictions. So you’re basically everything to a patient. You’re their family, you’re their friend, you’re their nurse — in essence, you’re everything.”
The real Boston Marathon is aiming to go ahead in September, and Devers says she plans to be there.
“I’m going to take this week off and do some yoga and some cycling and get back to running on Monday,” she said.
“My body feels pretty good. My hip is a little sore on one side, but other than that, I don’t really feel like I ran a marathon, to be honest.”
Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Chloe Shantz-Hilkes.