A teary-eyed Lederer uses crutch to complete Boston Marathon, keep streak alive

Pete Lederer

It’s tough enough getting through the Boston Marathon on two good legs.

Peter Lederer made the 26.2-mile run on practically one.

The Langhorne resident was diagnosed with a small fracture in his right hip a few weeks ago and it looked like his impressive streak of 20 consecutive Bostons was about to end.

Not to be deterred, Lederer employed the use of a single crutch/cane on Monday and made it all the way to the finish line in six hours and 10 minutes.

Now that’s what you call determination.

Lederer usually completes Boston in about three hours, so finishing in roughly twice that time was a bit humbling. But the important thing was that he didn’t have any regrets over not trying and then wondering “what if?”

“I got it done,” he said with a bit of relief in his voice during a telephone conversation from Boston late Monday afternoon.

Lederer had been using a pair of crutches in training but decided to go with a solitary “forearm crutch” in this particular instance.

“On one of the test runs I did with the two crutches, it was murder on my hands, arms and my underarms,” he said. “I didn’t see a way possible with those.”

Lederer did a trial run with the single forearm device but there was no padding on the handle.

“So I got a pool noodle,” he said with a chuckle. “I taped the pool noodle over the top of the handle to make it a little easier on my hands.

“I progressed to the point where I felt like I only needed one. So that’s what I decided to go with.”

He said he had a few doubts, even at the starting line.

“I thought to myself, ‘there’s no way I’m going to finish this’,” he recalled. “It’s crazy. The most I’ve done is five miles (in training). By the time I get to (mile) seven or eight, my hip’s going to hurt. And there’s no way that I will finish.

“I did have a friend of mine meet me about halfway (13 miles). He told me beforehand, ‘if you can get to me, I will get you to the finish.’ But I still had doubts. I knew if I was in a lot of pain, I couldn’t risk a full fractured hip. I would have to step off the course.”

Fortunately, that moment never arrived.

“I felt OK,” he said. “I never felt any big pain. In the last three or four miles, I had some discomfort. But nothing acute. So there was never a spot in the race where I thought I wasn’t going to make it.”

Doctors had advised Lederer not to do it, that it was a “terrible idea.”

“I said, ‘what if I crutch it?’ and he replied, ‘what are you, Terry Fox (the late Canadian legendary athlete who made it across Canada on one leg due to complications from cancer)? Well, you’re not Terry Fox.’+”

One doctor told him if the fracture worsened, it would require the insertion of screws in order to make a recovery.

“I was very fearful the whole time of something like that happening,” Lederer said.

Having five weeks to recover from the origincal diagnosis probably allowed for some healing.

He’s already received congratulations from a lot of running friends back in Bucks County. Plus he wore a “Go Pete!” sign on his shirt and thousands of spectators responded to that.

“A lot of the Bucks Roadrunners Club members were in the Athletes Village,” Lederer said. “They knew the situation. They all shook their heads (in wonder) at me. Lots of texts.”

The list of well-wishers included Joe Haughey, Tim Bulat, Ethan Frank, Pat Donadio and Dr. Johnny King-Marino.

Now Lederer can put his eye back on reaching the coveted 25 in a row mark.

“The streak was most of it,” he said of his 2024 Boston Marathon. “I was desperate to keep it going. The idea of a six-hour marathon was not something I wanted to have. But when I reached the finish line, I knew it was worth it.

“The weather was great, the crowds were loud. I must have had 20,000 yell at me because I was wearing that sign. I was teary-eyed at the finish line.”

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About Wayne Fish 2437 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.