On Patriot's Day in Boston (the third Monday of April), we run the marathon. In 2021, the race moved to Indigenous Peoples Day in October & Heartbreak took the opportunity to fill the void with rock & roll, speed, and global run culture. The Magic Horse Marathon Relay delivered with 81 teams sharing vibes, unifying in the spirit of our sport, & racing for $5,000. That's 405 athletes in 15 states and 5 countries. The best of independent run specialty shops like Mill City Running, Vancouver Running Company, Runologie, Last Lap Corner Shop, the crews & culture creators of Los Angeles (Koreatown Run Club, STAYFŌC, Girl Gang Crazy, LA Rebels), Mexico City (Dromo Run Crew), Chicago (GumboFit, Windrunners [top all womens team], HBers), New York (Boogie Down Bronx Runners, Lost Boys), and Boston, of course (Heartbreakers & Pioneers) all brought their own style and purpose. There was even a 176 store national chain that couldn't resist the fun. Beach front in LA, oceanside in Vancouver, lakefront in Chicago, in the heart of Mexico City, and around Harvard's hallowed athletic facilities, the competitive fire forced to lay mostly dormant through the pandemic ignited in the hearts of the competitors. A global coming out party marked by big smiles (and some puking).
The Loop Running Supply in Austin, TX ran early on Saturday but left their result reporting until the last second on Sunday for maximum dramatic effect. It worked. The standard was set: 2:13:33 the time to beat. The Loop's co-founder, Pam Hess, was first to jump in the race with very clear agenda of kicking ass. Mission accomplished.
Heartbreak's seeded team ran their home course, the Harvard Tempo Loop (around the stadium, the indoor track, and the swimming facilities on the Brighton side of the Charles River). The flat and fast course was the same one used to select the 5 runners who would represent the squad. With $5,000 on the line, it was Jarred Iacovelli to Amy Tortarello to Jonny Phillips to Clare Franco to Fitch Henry. Heartbreakers, family members, & fans gathered up at 6PM in anticipation of the 6:30 start. Coach Dan went live on @heartbreakrunco. Justin, co-founder of Heartbreak, manned a city bike with a selfie stick providing color-commentary and live video of the entire race (the true unsung hero of the event).
Unable to do any math of note, it wasn't clear until about the half way mark (18 of ~36 laps) that there was a good chance the Heartbreakers would clinch it but a lot can go wrong in 18 more laps.
With two laps to go we got word that the 26.2 mile mark would be on the other side of the stadium and spectators rushed over as Fitch blasted down the final straightaway. 2:08:10. Champagne popped. Hearts burst with pride. A new global race is born.
Full results and merch here. Photos from Harvard below. Check the highlights from around the world here.
Special thanks to Nike Running for their support. Deep gratitude to our featured teams who put in content work & helped spread the word: GumboFit, Windrunners, Koreatown Run Club, STAYFŌC, Pioneers, Vancouver Running Company, Mill City Running, The Loop Running Supply, Runologie, Last Lap Corner Shop, and the Heartbreaker team members and staff.