Peck pushes past setback to be fastest Maryland runner at Boston Marathon

By the time Graham Peck was halfway up Heartbreak Hill during the Boston Marathon, he knew he'd be all right.

The Fells Point resident had gone into Marathon Monday with a goal of finishing the 26.2-mile race in 2 hours and 28 minutes. Peck, running his first Boston Marathon, had made it up and over several other hills in Newton, Mass., and knew this hill, the course's most infamous obstacle, would be his most significant remaining challenge.

"I think, at that point, with about six miles to go, is when I felt, 'I’m not going to screw up too much here,'" he said Tuesday.

Peck finished 59th overall Monday in 2:26:36, only about a minute slower than his personal best, and was the fastest finisher from Maryland in the 118th Boston Marathon. Emily Hurley, also of Baltimore, was the state's fastest female runner, finishing in 3:05:28.

"I didn’t think I’d have that in me," Peck said. "It was a good day. There were a lot of fast people to run with, and the weather was really probably pretty ideal."

The 24-year-old didn't have high expectations heading into Monday's race because the last few weeks of his training hadn't gone as planned.

About five weeks before the marathon, Peck suffered a foot injury that kept him from running for about a week and a half. Peck said he was in the best shape of his life before the injury, which he thinks was a stress fracture.

"So, that set me back, I was a little troubled by that," he said. "I haven't felt as good the last week or two ... It was coming back around, but I still just didn’t feel 100 percent. My foot was 100 percent, but my fitness just wasn’t."

Even on Monday, Peck wasn't initially certain that he'd have the push needed to get through the grueling course that starts in Hopkinton, Mass., and ends in Boston in his goal time. He didn't feel well early, but soon fell into a rhythm.

"I didn’t feel good miles one through three or four," he said. "I felt better miles 13 or 14 than I did mile three or four. ... I’m a better runner the longer that it gets."

Peck, who has run 10 races marathon length or longer, in addition to several shorter races, said Boston was his favorite marathon. He plans to run the Utica Boilermaker 15K in July and the Pikes Peak Ascent in August.

He hasn't made plans beyond that, but expects to eventually return to Boston.

"I think I’ll be be back there," he said.

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