At Boston Marathon, Lederer plans to go to great lengths to keep streak alive

Peter Lederer at last year's Chicago Marathon.

        Some marathons on a particular day can be more challenging than others, be it the course, the weather, an illness or even a transportation issue just getting there.

      But how about trying to run 26.2 miles on a fractured hip?

      That’s what Boston Marathon veteran Peter Lederer will attempt to do on Monday when he looks to keep his incredible streak of 20 consecutive Beantown finishes alive.

      Did we mention Lederer plans to employ crutches the whole way and basically run on one leg?

      It will be quite an accomplishment if Lederer gets the job done. He knows it’s a monumental task. Usually a sub-3-hour marathoner, it will probably take him more than twice that amount of time to complete No. 21.

      You see, his goal is to join that elite fraternity of runners who have completed 25  Bostons and get his name on that cherished list in the race program.

      He’s already run five training miles with the help of those crutches and averaged about 15-minute miles. Whether he can sustain that pace and make it to the finish line is a slightly different matter.

      The health issue started back last December when a hamstring type of injury popped up. Lederer didn’t think much of it at first but the injury continued to nag him. When he returned to running in February, things got worse in a hurry.

      “I was going to physical therapy,” he said in a telephone conversation. “But, like every dumb runner, I went from zero miles up to a lot of miles.

      “I thought I eased into it but I kind of didn’t I suppose. I started doing too many miles. Too much intensity. And felt something at the end of a workout. It didn’t get better over the course of a week or so. And so I got an MRI. The doctor said it was a stress fracture in my hip area.”

      The danger is that if he keeps pushing the injury too hard, it might become a full-blown fracture.

      “So I can’t run through it, that’s for sure,” Lederer said. “The doctor scared me enough to where I know if I stress it and completely fracture it, then it’s a whole different ballgame.”

      Other runners have used crutches and no one has complained. As long as wheels aren’t involved, everything else appears to be legal.

      What if the streak were something like 10 or 12 years? Would he still consider using crutches and all that?

      “If it were somewhere in that range,” Lederer said, “I think I would probably just say, ‘Ah, it was a nice little run. Maybe I’ll do it again next year.’

      “But 25 is the goal. That’s definitely one of the incentives.”

      Lederer also said there are other considerations.

      “Just a little bit of pride,” he said. “It (25 in a row) is certainly something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Everybody knows that it’s my race. It’s certainly a little bit of that.”

      Suffice to say, Lederer won’t give up easy.

      “Twenty years at any distance race is impressive because there are so many factors that come into play if you can make it or not,” he said. “There are not only injuries but family commitments — a wedding or a death. There are so many things. So it is impressive and I wouldn’t downplay it at all.”

      Peter’s wife, Linda, gives her reluctant blessing to the endeavor.

      “She doesn’t necessarily want me to do it,” he said with a chuckle. “She’s a little bit afraid of the consequences, so I get that. But she actually understands it.”

      Lederer has broken the three-hour standard six times and that sort of fitness should work in his favor.

      There’s also the question of whether his arms and hands will hold up for that distance and that far.

      A former wrestler in high school and college, Lederer didn’t pick up running until adulthood. He jumped into a corporate challenge race in New York, enjoyed it and soon had the running bug.

      “It was the first race I ever did,” he recalled. “And it just went from there.”

      While Lederer plans to put everything he has into this noble quest, he’s also a sensible man who doesn’t want to put his future running in danger.

      “So if I feel any significant pain, I’m going to pull off the course,” he vows. “Or going too slow. Or my arms or hands are not going to be able to survive. I’ll have money in my phone. I’ll pull off the course and figure out a way to get back to Boston.”

      If he does run the entire course and make it to the finish line, it will be a sight to see and a photograph to show the grandchildren someday.

      And even if he doesn’t, just making the attempt will be one hell of a way to see the streak come to an end.

      >Race calendar

      Saturday

      Be Kind 5K, 9:30 a.m., Holicong Park, Buckingham. Contact www.bucks5kseries.com


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About Wayne Fish 2452 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.