AP NEWS

With Every Step, Closer to His Goal

May 26, 2019

LEOMINSTER — Long associated with endurance and dedication, the marathon has become a dream for many a distance runner.

For Leominster High junior Richie Budd, that dream came true last week. Not only did Budd participate in his first marathon, the Martha’s Vineyard Marathon on May 18, but he also found great success, cracking the top 25 in the 411-person racing field.

“It was a really hot day, which I wasn’t prepared for because I’m used to the cold,” Budd said. “I’m used to wearing layers, but it was hot, and my feet were blistering. Being a marathon, I began cramping up. But it felt really good to achieve that goal.”

Budd, 17, crossed the finish line in 3 hours, 20 minutes, which was good enough for 22nd place. He was the lone runner in the race under the age of 18.

There were a handful of corrals, to separate the start times. The Leominster High junior took the lead early in his release grouping and sustained it until the end.

“I started in the front of the second corral, and eventually it thinned out a lot,” Budd said. “So I ended up running on my own the whole race. I ended up doing the first half a little fast and then slowing down as I began cramping up.”

Unlike a typical street-based marathon, the Martha’s Vineyard course featured rural settings and off-road paths. With a supportive crowd on road, Budd’s first marathon was both scenic and memorable.

“It was beautiful,” Budd said about the course. “The paths went in the woods and there were a ton of people cheering you on. It was nice.”

Budd started off slow in the running world, doing a mile here or there, but then built up his repertoire. He used track and field and cross country to build his passion, working his way up to the 5K, 10K, and then the half-marathon.

“This year I decided that I wanted to try doing the marathon,” Budd said. “I tried my best to go train on my own a little bit. I put in the miles and did the marathon.”

Some of Budd’s most memorable races leading up to the marathon were the Disney Princess 10K and Princess Half Marathon. In total Budd has made five trips to Florida for racing.

The Disney races were particularly impactful because he was racing to raise funds toward the research of Rett Sydrome, which afffects his 14-year-old sister, Sabrina. Budd’s efforts went to support the charity Girl Power to Cure.

Budd opted not to go out for spring track this season, instead focusing on his marathon training. He was still down at Doyle Field with his teammates training, working hard toward his goal, Leominster boys’ outdoor track head coach Steve McNamara said.

“He was always at Doyle Field,” McNamara said. “He would just keep running and running for an hour and half. Sometimes our distance runners would jump in and run with him. I really wish he went out for the team because he is much, much faster than the last time he went out for us. He’s focused on running a marathon, that’s his goal, he’s very driven.”

In March Budd joined the North Medford Run Club in an effort to up his training and prepare him for the grueling task of running 26.2 miles. Through the process of marathon training Budd lost roughly 25 to 30 pounds.

Upcoming plans for Budd include running next month’s Boston Athletic Association 10K. Then he will rejoin his Blue Devil cross country team, from which he had previously taken a break in order to pursue his marathon goal.

“Knowing Richie, he will work hard all summer and will come to practice ready to work,” Leominster head cross country coach Danielle Lussier said. “He’s a goal-setter and will accomplish what he sets out to do. I’m very excited to see him in the fall.”

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