Cambridge half-marathoners energized after race returns post-pandemic

Cambridge racers approach the finish line at Sunday’s first Half Marathon post-pandemic. (Photo by Sarah Readdean/BU News Service)

By Sarah Readdean
Boston University News Service

New and seasoned runners alike sped through the brisk November air and past the finish line of the Cambridge Half Marathon at CambridgeSide Sunday morning.

The 13.1-mile race, which starts and finishes at the CambridgeSide mall, made its return for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic — on the same day as the New York City Marathon.

Elaine Caughey of Wellesley said this was her first Cambridge Half, but that she’s run other races, including Boston Athletic Association’s Half Marathon and Distance Medley, as well as the 2015 Boston Marathon.

Caughey and her husband, Tom, ran Sunday’s race with Team Kymera. Elaine Caughey works for Kymera Therapeutics, a biotech company that develops drugs for leukemia and lymphoma. Tom Caughey is a hematologist at Mount Auburn Hospital who treats lymphoma patients.

On Saturday night, the Caugheys participated in Light the Night at Franklin Park Zoo, a mile-long walk hosted by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to support cancer research. 

The couple said their favorite part of the race was going through Harvard Stadium.

“You could see the sun on the stadium,” Tom Caughey said. “There were a lot of people around and a few people running up and down the steps to train.”

“There was a lot of camaraderie,” Elaine Caughey added. “We stayed together. The weather was great. I’d do this one again.”

Elaine Caughey said many races started back up this fall for the first time since the pandemic because of the rising vaccination rate, adding that “it was a big deal” that the runners passed the Moderna headquarters. 

“It was really great to see all the people at the start coming back after the pandemic,” Tom Caughey said. 

Tom and Elaine Caughey, of Wellesley, said they would “absolutely” run the Cambridge Half Marathon again. (Photo by Sarah Readdean/BU News Service)

Sofia Camacho, a freshman at Northeastern University, ran her first race Sunday after picking up running as a hobby during quarantine. 

“I wanted to do something in the community because I didn’t feel super connected to Boston at the time,” she said. 

A group of Camacho’s friends came to watch her run, and her dad came up from Virginia. She added that seeing people she didn’t know cheer on the racers was encouraging. 

“It was awesome to have the support of random strangers,” Camacho said. “When everything hurts and I’m really tired, it’s great to see people on the side who you don’t even know.”

Victor Caudal of Somerville also felt encouraged by the crowds. He said there was a good turnout of fans and added that fellow racers often give a word of encouragement or a thumbs up to one another.

The streets were lined with families and friends, young and old, holding posters of encouragement and ringing cowbells. Runners lifted their arms to gain the crowd’s support as they pushed through the final few tenths of the 13.1-mile race.

Runners near the end of the Cambridge Half Marathon at CambridgeSide on Sunday morning. (Photo by Sarah Readdean/BU News Service)

“On pretty much every turn, there’s people cheering,” Caudal said. “It’s good to have some external motivation.”

Caudal encouraged Laura Barrett to run the race, and, not a runner herself, she said she feels proud that she did it.

Although he said he would have “rather stayed in [his] bed this morning,” Caudal said after finishing the race, “I feel good, I feel jazzed.”

Runners and their families and friends gather outside the CambridgeSide mall to relax and celebrate after completing the Cambridge Half Marathon. (Photo by Sarah Readdean/BU News Service)

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