Top 25 at Boston Marathon leaves former UK runner both satisfied and unsatisfied


Zack Beavin races at the Boston Marathon near the halfway point of the race in Boston, Mass. on April 16, 2018. Beavin went on to finish in 24th place, the best finish ever by a runner from Kentucky. Photo submitted by Zack Beavin.

Never has a runner from Kentucky finished inside the top 25 of the Boston Marathon, but that changed at last Monday’s 122nd edition of the historic and prestigious race.

Former UK distance runner Zack Beavin cracked the top 25 at the Boston Marathon earlier this week by finishing the 26.2-mile course in 2:30:56, which was good enough for 24th place.

A 2:30 marathon and top 25 finish at the Boston Marathon would be a massive success to any of the runners who shared the course with Beavin on Monday, but Beavin’s finishing time was over nine minutes off his personal best, which has him feeling not completely satisfied with the race. 

“It’s a weird race to kind of come to terms with because objectively it was pretty horrific in terms of – like 2:30 is nine minutes off, it was over nine minutes off my personal best,” Beavin said. 

Beavin’s time was slowed largely due to the toughest weather conditions that have ever been present at the Boston Marathon. Beavin had to fight a 20-mile per hour headwind, cold temperatures and heavy rain just to get to the finish.

Pile that on top of the already challenging course, and it made for a difficult day for Beavin.

“I didn’t even know I crossed the finish line, I was pretty delusional,” Beavin said. “A volunteer actually had to just come and like stop me because I was continuing to just like stumble forward.”

After Beavin crossed the finish line and regained some sense, he made his way to a medical tent for elite runners where he was given many blankets to warm up in, and a massage to loosen up his legs. 

Beavin was pretty disappointed in his race not knowing what place he got and just knowing his finishing time. While in the medical tent, Beavin’s mom sent a message informing him of his top 25 finish.

That was the first time he found out he finished in the top 25.

“That’s the first time that I started to feel a little better about my race and my performance,” Beavin said. “So many good runners started the race and many didn’t finish or many ran a lot slower than I did.”

Beavin won’t be proud of his finishing time, but the top 25 finish and the experience he got in Boston is enough to make Beavin think of positive thoughts about the race.

“I’ve kind of come to terms with the positives of the race,” Beavin said. “Anytime you race a marathon, you learn stuff about yourself and how to better race marathons in the future.” 

One of the things he learned was that his goal of qualifying for the U.S. Marathon Olympic Trials is still possible.

In order Beavin to qualify for the Marathon Olympic Trials, he has to run the 26.2 mile race in 2:19:00, which is an average pace of 5:18 per mile for the marathon.

Beavin’s time at Boston was 11:56 off the Marathon Olympic Trials standard, but through 21 miles he was running with a pack that consisted of runners who had already achieved the qualifying standard.

The fact that Beavin was able to race those competitors through a large portion of the race in brutal conditions gives him confidence that he can achieve the standard for himself on a better day.

“I know I have 2:17, 2:18 in me, it’s kind of reassuring to know that the people who have done that are the people that I’m running with,” Beavin said.