Retired doctor Stephen Reed, 69 of Wiscasset, completed his 28th consecutive Boston Marathon on Patriot’s Day. Reed had a total hip replacement of his left hip in July. After taking a few months off from running to recover, he was back pounding the pavement training for his favorite race.
The hip replacement surgery forced him to say goodbye to his 40 year running streak of running three miles a day, everyday for 40 straight years. His love of the Boston Marathon was not something he was willing to give up, so he timed his surgury so he had time to recover.
The new bionic hip allowed him to finish Boston in under five hours, over an hour faster than last year, when his diseased hip forced him to limp across the finish line. He is one of about 75 runners nationally who have run at least 25 straight Boston Marathons. For Maine runners, he is number one.
“Twenty-six miles is 26 miles. It takes a lot out of you even if your having a good day. I was happy with my time. I wanted to shave off an hour from when I had the hip thing. I pushed it the last two miles because I knew I was near the five hour mark. I ran a controlled race out there. The crowds down there are incredible. Being able to savor that is incredible.”
“I snuck in under five hours, which was dramatically different” from last year. I could tell the difference between the operative side and non operative side. It went as well as expected. I think, unfortunately, I did a number on myself, Reed said of leaving his winter home in Florida on Thursday and driving north for the marathon, without a break.
Training in Florida all winter, acclimated Reed to the warm conditions at this year’s Boston. Even though his new hip allowed him to train better than in the past couple of years, Reed said, “these things just get toughter and tougher. I ended up in the medical tent for a while, exhausted and dehydrated. After a little TLC” Reed found his vehicle and drove home to Maine.
“I think if I’m going to continue this thing I’ve got to come to the realilzation there is a certain amount of pain to it. I would like to get to 30, but who knows,” Reed said of reaching the 30 year consecutive Boston Marathon mark.
After surgery, Reed began to run freely on his new hip in November or December. He ran 60 miles a week, doing nine and 10 miles to prepare for Boston. He even ran a 20 miler. “I think I did too much just before the marathon,” Reed said.
“Giving up my daily streak was pretty monumental. I waited until I got to the 40 year mark.” Reed was wearing his 40 year streak shirt at the Boston Marathon. “The crowd and the runners were phenominal, with how they responded and reached out to me. Many runners said they were more impressed with the streak than the Boston thing. I could have high fived the whole way and still be down there,” Reed said of the exhuberant crowd.
“I definately do not regret having the hip done. I put it off longer than it logically dictated. I’m glad I did it that way, because now I can savor the 40 year thing. The whole thing played out well. Having the surgery up here, gave me time to recover before I went to Florida.
Reed said he did not know how many people have run a marathon with an artificial hip. “I worked the thing over pretty good yesterday. My motion was so restrictive before the surgery. After I finally recovered fully from surgery, it was a world of difference. I have absolutely no regrets about it,” Reed added of having a total hip replacement.
Reed plans to back off from running long distances, until next fall, when he prepares for his 29th Beantown run. It is important to me to continue. The trick is, how to continue to do this Boston Marathon thing without creating too much of an insult to the prosthetic hip,” Reed said of his goal of running 30 straight.