Tim Ritchie, 2019 Boston Marathon by Josh Campbell

Great Love: Tim Ritchie (video)

It takes Great Love to know Heartbreak. The expectations must be high, there is deep affection and anticipation. This interplay of expectation & disappointment, of failure and triumph, of love and loss, of trying and trying again, defines our life, our love, our sport, and this place we call Heartbreak.

"Great Love" will be a recurring piece featuring athletes, friends, & Heartbreak family members whose stories inspire and overlap with ours. 
Tim Ritchie is our first Great Love. Why Tim? Well, this is a Heartbreak story and Tim Ritchie was the first coach of Hill Club, the first free group run out of the first store that had the name Heartbreak Hill Running Company on the door (we opened as South End Athletic Company back in 2009 and that run club was (is) called SEAC Speed).
Now, Tim is a Saucony sponsored professional athlete with Freedom Track Club, a cross country & distance coach at UMass, and a USATF Marathon Champ. Then (2012-13), he was a sub-4:00 miler, a sub-29:00 min 10K runner, and a Boston College assistant coach about to run the 2013 Boston Marathon. He was New England runner of the year and the most buzzed about runner in the region. He had planned to race the 2012 NYC Marathon but it was cancelled last minute due to the fallout of Superstorm Sandy so, his debut marathon would be the local legend, Boston. The hype was real. The hope: the fastest-ever debut by a Massachusetts resident. Randy Thomas, Director of Women's XC/Track & Field at Boston College & former elite runner was rumored to own that stat.

Heartbreak readied itself. We created our first ever marketing campaign, #runritchie. So good, right?! It was no doubt the second biggest cultural moment that year behind Sharknado. We enlisted celebrities like @omgal (Rebecca Pacheco) to interview Tim and build hype (2012 youtube clip).

#RunRitchie Heartbreak Run Co 2013 Boston Marathon
 Race day, April 15th, 2013, created two separate and distinct memories: Ritchie's race and everything else (staying on Tim's race here). It didn't go as planned. He fueled with water only partially on advice from his BC coaching colleague, Randy Thomas, "It's a race. Just drink water." (Wait, was that sabotage?!) Tim struggled. He ran 2:21 and came in 25th overall. Never one to wallow, we talked a lot about the race and what he learned over the next few weeks. We talked about creating a time-on-feet training run, we talked about the guys in front of him "popping Roctane" (this is pre-Maurten).

The ever brave & always believing, Ritchie went on to race the 2016 Marathon trials where he mixed it up with the leaders mid-way but couldn't hang on. Undeterred, he came back with a vengeance in 2017 at the USATF Marathon Championships where he won the race in by 48 seconds in a time of 2:11:56.
At Heartbreak, his most celebrated accomplishment has to be his Firehouse record. The Firehouse is the name given to the 10 mile training run that is foundational to our marathon training in Boston. It turns out all of Ritchie's great loves, the Firehouse, his future wife, March Comm Ave training energy, all converged creating the most dominant Firehouse performance ever: 49:13 for the 10 mile course done as miles 5-15 of a 20 miler.  We caught up with Tim last week. Enjoy the interview (video) and scroll down for more photos. - DF