GREENWICH, Conn. – John Krasniewicz has run the Boston Marathon in all kinds of conditions and circumstances. The Old Greenwich resident will stand on the starting line in Hopkinton, Mass., on April 16 for the 17th straight year to begin the 26.2-mile journey to the finish on Boston’s Boylston Street.
“Oh yeah, I still get nervous,’’ said Krasniewicz, 61, who has run 35 marathons. “You’re always worried about the weather. You have to be ready for anything. One year there was 10 inches of snow the week before. Then you wonder if you have the right stuff, whether you’ve done the right training.”
Krasniewicz’s first Boston was in 1996, the 100th anniversary of the race. Nearly 38,000 runners took part, the largest field in that marathon’s history. Two races stand out for Krasniewicz during his streak.
In 2000, Krasniewicz ran with his wife, Caryl Robotti. Caryl was battling breast cancer and had a liver biopsy four days before the race. “There were a lot of friends with her, and they were waiting for her at every mile,’’ Krasniewicz said. “She finished in 5 hours and 59 minutes. Just seeing her come through the line was something I’ll never forget.” She died from the disease Dec. 8, 2001.
He also recalled the 2002 race, when heightened security was visible every step of the way after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “In every building, you could see the National Guard with machine guns,’’ Krasniewicz said. “It was a little bit eerie.”
Krasniewicz began running in the 1970s. “I said, 'I’m going to see my grandchildren and stay healthy,'’’ he said. “It worked.” His daughter, Candace, gave birth to a daughter in December 2010. “Now my goal is to run with my granddaughter,’’ he said.
The girl will have run at a pretty good clip. He ran last year's marathon in 3:21:36 and finished 20th in the 60-64 age group. He’s fit for another strong performance this year. He ran all four races in the competitive Boston Buildup Series and was the top runner in his age group in all four races. He won his age group in the final 25K race by more than seven minutes.
“The Buildup series is a great, it’s a good way to get through the winter,’’ Krasniewicz said. “This winter has been the easiest year for running.”
Krasniewicz, who owns a business in Stamford, also frequently runs the Marine Corps Marathon in October. He also ran the Vermont 100 Endurance Race in 2010. His best year in marathons came in 1999, when he ran 3:00:18 in the Marine Corps and 3:06 in Boston. His first race was the Mother’s Day 10K back in the 1970s.
He has come a long way since then and will head to Boston with his wife Marie for another day of running in the world’s most prestigious marathon. “I still feel like I’m 40,’’ Krasniewicz said. “I’ve been lucky to avoid injuries for the most part. There’s no other race like it.”