Juggling motherhood and competitive running? No sweat says Hilary Dionne.
The proud mom to an 11-month-old girl, Dionne once again distinguished herself at the latest running of the Boston Marathon, which made a triumphant return this past Monday. The 2003 graduate of Cumberland High School completed the 26.2-mile gauntlet in 2:37.06, good for 21st place in the women’s division and eighth among U.S.-born females.
Dionne, 36, may have missed out on setting a personal best in what was her seventh appearance at the Boston Marathon – her 2014 time of 2:35:08 still ranks as her best clocking – though she says she was able to walk away with a great deal of satisfaction following her first major race in 2½ years.
“My training was definitely different, but it was great to be back out there,” said Dionne when reached Tuesday from her Charleston, Mass. home. “I wasn’t expecting to PR, but I wanted to enjoy it while also being competitive.
“Something like this definitely motivates me to keep going. Hopefully I still have some faster races in me,” Dionne added. “I’m not retiring yet.”
Mention Dionne’s name in the same sentence as the Boston Marathon and you’re immediately transported to the race’s 2015 edition when she made news crossing the finish line the same time as Meb Keflezighi, the 2014 overall champion. Fast forward to the present with Dionne able to find a way to maintain a sense of normalcy when it comes to running while also being a parent to an infant.
Along those lines, Dionne elected to switch from competing with the Boston Athletic Association to an all-female team called Craft Concept Racing. In a nutshell, Craft Concept is tailor made for someone in Dionne’s shoes.
“It’s a small group where you have a day job and a family but also looking to run competitively,” said Dionne.
Welcoming a baby girl into the world may have shifted her identity to being a mother who happens to run at an elite level, yet it wasn’t like Dionne was missing out on opportunities to add to her Boston Marathon track record. The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the 2020 and 2021 traditional April staging of the venerable race. To her, the fact that it was held on the second Monday in October was a welcome sight.
“There were fewer spectators so it was a little quieter than in past years, but there was still a lot of good energy on the course, especially as you got closer to the city,” she said. “People were excited to be back out there.”
Dionne’s final time on Monday was what she was aiming for. The goal became more realistic when she reached the midway point in 1:18.32.
“I thought I could run 2:37 if everything broke accordingly. I’ve never run a marathon almost evenly split, but I was happy with that. Running six-minute miles helped me stay relaxed,” said Dionne.
The qualifying standards for the 2022 Boston Marathon that is scheduled to be on the traditional Patriots’ Day should be released soon.
“Assuming all goes well between now and then, I would like to be back out there,” said Dionne.
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03