30 for 30: Chelmsford Resident Completes His 30th Boston Marathon.
It’s a doozy of a storm in Massachusetts: clouds covering the sky, rain falling at a rapid rate, and the temperature is a mere forty degrees. This is the kind of Monday that begs to be spent indoors, curled up by the fire with a hot cup of tea.
But for the thirty thousand participants of the 2018 Boston Marathon, this is hardly a day to kick back and relax.
Especially for runner #15529, Brian Crane.
“It’s a tough course!” Crane says. “It has taken its toll on me, and my time is winding down. But once you get out there, there’s just nothing like it. The crowd is just so supportive.”
Crane, 52, is running in his 30th consecutive Boston Marathon today. From a young age, running was always something Crane enjoyed as it gave him a chance to compete. He says he enjoyed it because it’s one of those sports that requires little material and can be performed anywhere.
“Once you get going, you just keep going and try to drive yourself to go a little faster,” says Crane. “The competition is always there; you can always put your shoes on over the weekend, and go off and find a race somewhere, and get it done.”
Crane ran cross country and track at Sebring High School in Florida, where he originally grew up. After graduating, Crane attended Loras College (a Division 3 school) in Dubuque, Iowa. He continued to run in college and moved to Massachusetts in 1988. He had landed a job with the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office—where he has worked for the past 31 years—and was pleased to be living in the state where his parents originally grew up.
“Boston is a very historical and prestigious city,” Crane says. “The Boston Marathon was always something that was in the back of my head. I moved here [Massachusetts] in’88, and in ‘89 I actually finished my first Boston Marathon.”
Ever since that first Marathon back in ‘89, Crane has made it an annual tradition to complete the 26.2 mile run from Hopkinton, Massachusetts to Copley Square in Boston. He begins his training in January, starting with a “base run” (a steadily-paced run) and increasing his pace by incorporating long-runs into his routine.
Those long runs, he says, will get longer every week.
“This year  is a little bit different, because I’m getting older and it’s a little bit tougher!” Crane says with a chuckle. “I was fortunate to shoot down to Florida for about a week and get some good training down there. Come April, you try to rest up a little bit before the race actually happens.”
Crane also has the support of his friends and family. When Crane first came to Massachusetts, coaching high school running teams was the farthest thing from his mind. But when he was offered a part-time coaching position at Chelmsford High School in 1999, he seized the opportunity and hasn’t regretted it in the slightest.
“Being a coach for the last twenty years has taught me a lot,” says Crane, who became the head coach of the Chelmsford High School boys’ cross country team in 2007. “There are kids that I used to coach who are running the marathon with me now, that makes me proud, and it’s worth it too. It’s great that I know kids who have been inspired by me.”
Some members of the Boys’ Cross Country Team will cheer Crane on from the 17th mile in Newton, the area where marathon runners crave something to give them that last boost of energy to finish the final leg of the race. Crane always looks forward to taking a swig of a flat coke, which is handed to him from the sidelines by the athletes he’s coached.
Crane looks forward to the Boston Marathon each year, and he especially looks forward to seeing the people he knows cheering him on.
“It’s a nice day out there, and to run by a million people, how often do you get to do that? People cheering you from Point A to Point B…It’s amazing.”