Return to Headlines

Olympia's Liane Richardson runs the Boston Marathon

The human body isn’t built to run 26.2188 miles.

Those who regularly run marathons are elite human beings, with the mental fortitude, perseverance, and determination to push through pain and adversity to finish what they started.

This story is better knowing that Olympia’s RTI teacher Liane Richardson started running regularly right before age 40. For some people, that’s when their body parts start breaking down. But Richardson found a new hobby and ran with it, literally and figuratively.

“I was never a runner,” Richardson said. “I was always health conscious, but I never thought about running - I was actually 40 pounds overweight. I knew I needed to do something.”

So, she began running.

Richardson found a running club in San Antonio called the San Antonio RoadRunners, a supportive group of casual runners who encouraged her to keep up the newfound hobby.

She got good enough - and was confident enough - to sign up for her first half-marathon.

“I started getting better and better and I figured I’d sign up for a marathon,’ Richardson said.

Aside from seeing the physical health benefits, she also saw the mental health benefits.

“I kept training and noticed my stress levels were going down,” Richardson said. “I’m just the nervous type, so it helped me tremendously.”

After running another San Antonio Rock’N’Roll Marathon, and a marathon in Washington, it was brought to her attention that she may have qualified for one of the most prestigious marathons - the Boston Marathon.

“So many people apply and they can’t take everyone. That is why they say that you have to have a buffer time when you [try to] qualify,” Richardson said.

And she did. During the marathon in Washington, she had about a 15-minute buffer time from the qualifying time needed.

It was enough to get her in. After applying and being accepted, on April 17, 2023, what people in Boston call Patriots Day, Liane Richardson ran the Boston Marathon!

She was one of 30,000 runners who qualified to run 26.2188 miles in front of a crowd of 500,000 spectators. It was the moment of a lifetime.

“I couldn’t believe it - and I still don't believe it,” Richardson said. “I look at Boston runners and professionals in the community, and I didn’t think I was a part of that. Now, I feel I am a part of that community.”

Her training was extensive: running six days a week, up and down hills, on different surfaces, in different weather conditions. She had to be ready for the biggest race of her life.

“I didn’t go to Boston with any goals of wanting to crush it or anything,” Richardson said. “I just wanted to survive. I trained on the Greenways, doing point-to-point runs. I would run around Eisenhower Park. I knew there were going to be hills in Boston, so I had to be prepared.”

She was prepared.

The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest marathon. (The 2023 race was its 127th.) It’s New England’s largest sporting event, held on the third Monday of April, rain or shine. On this Monday, it was overcast and rainy. Richardson woke up early, got ready, left the hotel, and was bussed to join the other 30,000 runners just like her.

“There are people from all over the world. It was just… so cool,” Richardson said. “There’s nothing like it.”

They call the runners through loudspeakers by waves from a holding area to head to the starting line. Richardson was being tracked by her race number, so family and friends could follow her. Her boyfriend was there to support her along the way, just as he had supported her throughout the entire training process.

“I was so emotional. It was just so crazy. And then… I started running…” Richardson said.

She ran through the pouring rain, high-fiving spectators, running past little town and after town.

“I was trying to take it all in - the whole moment,” Richardson said. “I was like - I made it. That was my biggest thing - I didn’t want to forget this moment.”

The last turn was the most amazing moment of it all - because she saw the finish line.

“I was exhausted but I picked it up at that point. I was like, ‘I got this. I got this.’ It was insane - the crowds were getting louder and louder as I got closer to the finish line. I was tearing up. I kept telling myself, ‘you’re good, you’re good,’” Richardson said.

And then she crossed the finish line… of the Boston Marathon… and was overcome with emotion.

“I can’t believe I did that. I had this dream of going to Boston when I started running and knowing that it was attainable, but I never thought I would actually make it to Boston. And I made it to Boston,” Richardson said.

The icing on the cake - she bested her time: 3:35:05 and qualified for another Boston Marathon!

“I wanted [another] goal to have in life when I turned 30. Work goals are awesome, but I wanted to have a personal goal. I’m constantly changing and altering my goals - I want to have something to work for. And I wanted to do it for my kids - my daughter Lily and my son Jude. I constantly tell them that they need something to work for, something to live for. So, a lot of this, a lot of this is for them,” Richardson said.

She is an inspiration that no matter your circumstances, with hard work and dedication, success can happen. Richardson is the epitome of that - a Boston Marathon runner in our community.

Is there an event, student, teacher, or community member you want to highlight? Click here and let us know about it!