On the third Monday in April — known as Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts — thousands of runners take off from a starting line in Hopkinton for the 26.2-mile journey that is the Boston Marathon.
For Steve and Mark Godale, brothers from Aurora, Ohio, running in the race is more than just a tradition. It’s a downright streak.
“It’s the greatest foot race in the world. Nothing compares to it,” Mark Godale said.
Steve and Mark, who are 53 years old and 52 years old respectively, have started and finished the Boston Marathon 28 consecutive times, racking up a countless number of training and racing miles and earning the coveted unicorn medal for each marathon.
Boston Marathon officials don’t keep specific records on the number of marathons completed by siblings, but to their knowledge, no sibling duo has received more Boston medals in a row than the Godale brothers.
This weekend, they will head to Boston once again. They’ll lace up their shoes for the 29th time and participate in the oldest marathon in the world. The 126th edition of the race gets underway on the morning of April 18.
“When you think about it, the number of people that can run a marathon is only .5%, and to have the two of us running together is just phenomenal,” Steve Godale said.
“I think it’s incredible, both of us starting exactly the same year,” Mark Godale said.
In addition to many medals, the brothers have several racing bibs, pictures, and iconic Boston Marathon Jackets.
Steve Godale showed off his first jacket from 1994, which was noticeably heavier than recent versions.
“Some people want this jacket,” he said with a laugh. “It’s just cool to walk around and people are asking what year is that?”
What the siblings have done on their feet is truly an amazing feat when you consider they had to meet challenging time qualification standards just to get the chance to run Boston. After doing the race for 25 consecutive years, they are able to enter without qualifying.
“But I’m still qualifying,” Godale said.
They both have impressive PRs (personal records) at the Boston Marathon. Steve Godale has finished in 2 hours and 43 minutes and Mark Godale’s best time is 2 hours and 30 minutes.
“One time, he actually kicked me down the last 200 meters and I think he was just sitting on my butt because he saw me ahead of him and just passed me,” Godale said.
The atmosphere and crowd support during the Boston Marathon are unmatched, the brothers said. Most of their memories are joyful, with the exception of the bombings in 2013 that left three spectators dead and injured dozens of others.
“It was pretty shocking. It was a sad day for everyone,” Godale said.
The younger Godale said injuries in recent years have made it challenging to make it back to Boston, but he’s excited to give it his all on Patriots’ Day.
“I will run it until I can’t run anymore,” he said with a smile.
Steve Godale said he would like to keep the streak going for 50 years, which would put him in his 70s.
“You just got to do one at a time,” he said.
By Bob Jones, WEWS.