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April 2, 2013

Heartbroken by one second

Groveland's Hill misses Boston Marathon by narrowest margin

On a roller coaster day of emotions, Groveland’s Kacey Hill finally came crashing down.

Thanks to one measly second, or about the amount of time it takes to blink.

That’s exactly by how much she missed qualifying for this year’s Boston Marathon, which takes place in less than two weeks.

It was back on Jan. 13 when the 22-year-old Pentucket graduate was running the Disney World Marathon in Florida, hoping to qualify for Boston by recording a time of 3 hours and 35 minutes.

It was Hill’s third marathon, her second coming last summer when she ran a 3:55:32 at the Vermont City Marathon. Encouraged by her performance, she decided to attempt to qualify for Boston this year.

Improving by 20 minutes in less than a year was an ambitious goal. But Hill, a member of the SISU Project running club, trained hard and felt it was doable.

The Disney World race drew 26,000 runners, requiring Hill to start in a pack that would take a minute to get to the starting line. But since her time would be recorded by her running chip, that was not a problem.

And, by tagging onto a group planning to break 3:35, she was confident despite the warm temperatures. Even with the race starting at 5:30 a.m., it was already 60 degrees and, three hours later, it was in the low 70s.

“I was feeling pretty good and I was right on pace for the first half,” said Hill. “I thought I was going to make it.”

That high feeling came plummeting down by mile 21, however, when she started tightening up and members of her 3:35 group began pulling away.

“I thought it was over and I started thinking that well, at least I tried it,” said Hill, who is a junior majoring in biology at UMass Lowell.

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