Jenn Murphy Riordan was 23 when she started running marathons. Fifteen years later, she accomplished one of her biggest feats to date.
In her seventh career marathon, Murphy Riordan, 38, a former resident of Hughestown and graduate of Seton Catholic, finished the 120th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 18. Murphy Riordan finished the race, a 26.2-miler finishing near the John Hancock Tower in Copley Square in Boston, 5:30.45
Family and friends, including one friend who made it in from Ireland, were there to watch the race and offer support.
“I know a lot of people have trouble with the concept of running that far,” she said. “The distance itself and the race is revered by so many people I want to keep doing it.”
The 120th race took place three years after double bombings near the finish line left three dead and hundreds injured. Murphy Riordan said everyone in the Boston area still remembers and the community continues to love the sport.
“Every single minute there this whole weekend was absolutely amazing,” she said. “I find that people in the city are so genuine and so nice.”
For several years now, Murphy Riordan has applied run on behalf of charities in the Boston Marathon. This year, she was honored to be accepted to the Red Sox Foundation Boston Marathon Charity Team. To compete, each participant on the team must raise a minimum of $5,500. In all, the 30-person team raised more than $150,000 for charity. Murphy Riordan has been a Boston Red Sox fan since 1989.
Funds raised from the team will support the Red Sox Scholars and RBI Baseball/Softball programs serving at-risk children and families.
Currently, Murphy Riordan is a seventh grade math teacher at Pocono Mountain West Junior High School and a resident of Pocono Lake.
She graduated from Seton Catholic High School in 1996 and attended the University of Pittsburgh for interdisciplinary studies. She would later receive her master’s from East Stroudsburg University in special education. Murphy Riordan received her doctorate from Wilkes University.
It was at Pittsburg where she found her love for running.
In 2001, she was walking through her old neighborhood when the annual Pittsburgh Marathon was happening. She vowed to participate the next year, and she did.
“Once I did that I wanted to improve my times and get better,” she said.
In the past 15 years, she’s ran in marathons as far away as Alaska and as close as the Steamtown Marathon. She ran the Steamtown Marathon three times and the Pittsburgh Marathon twice.
The race in Anchorage, Alaska, however, might have been the toughest.
Murphy Riordan and her husband, Rob Riordan, were vacationing in the state, where they also got married. The runner found out there was a marathon the day they were leaving. She ran the marathon and then boarded the flight.
Local runners, results
Several other area residents participated in the annual Boston Marathon. Wyoming resident Charlene Aquilina, 35, completed the marathon in 3:33.41. Michael McAndrew, 56, of Avoca, completed the race in 3:27.24. Timothy Walsh, 46, of Old Forge, finished the marathon in a time of 3:21.13.
As far as the winners go, Ethiopia swept the marathon as Lemi Berhanu Hayle and Atsede Baysa won the men’s and women’s races, respectively. Hayle won with a time of 2:12:45.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick