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Coutinho, Kilduff work on alternative Boston Marathon experience in Hopkinton

by | Jun 2, 2020 | Featured Front Page, News

Select Board vice chair John Coutinho, the town’s liaison to the Boston Athletic Association, is working to create a memorable experience in September for Boston Marathon runners who are fundraising for local charities.

While there won’t be a traditional Boston Marathon race this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic — the event has moved online following last week’s decision by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh — Coutinho and 26.2 Foundation executive director Tim Kilduff will appear before the Select Board tonight to “present an outline of events to bring the essence of the Boston Marathon to all the Hopkinton runners.”

“We’re in conversations with various community charities, public safety, running clubs and trails committees,” Coutinho said. “What we’re trying to do is create a Hopkinton/Boston Marathon experience, including a 26.2-mile course in and around Hopkinton.

“We’re going to link that with the unveiling of the [pioneering female runner] Bobbi Gibb sculpture in town. We’re going to try to do a whole group of events, culminating in an organized race that people can get behind.”

Coutinho said the success of Saturday’s Hopkinton High School graduation parade provided encouragement for an event like this.

“We actually just proved it on Saturday with the parade, that it can work,” he said. “That was in Stage 1 [of the governor’s reopening plan]. We’re hoping to be at least Stage 2 or 3 by then, where people might be able to stand a little closer to together. We’re going to have a couple of different contingencies depending on what stage we’re in.”

When the BAA announced there would be no live marathon, it offered runners to chance to run on their own between Sept. 7-14 (the marathon was scheduled to be held Sept. 14 after being postponed back from its traditional mid-April start) and submit their times in order to receive a finisher’s medal and other prizes.

Coutinho said this would encourage runners to fulfill their fundraising obligation, bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars to local nonprofits. There are more than 160 runners signed up to fundraise for a Hopkinton-based charity (see chart here).

Coutinho said the BAA supports the effort, and tonight he’ll find out if the Select Board is willing to get behind it as well.

“The BAA is excited about it,” Coutinho said. “They’re really happy we’re coming through with what their thought was. What they want to do is bring the Boston Marathon to the runners. The are really happy that we’re taking the reins of this thing and doing it really quickly.”