Altra Elite Athlete Kara Goucher Reflects on Boston Marathon


The Boston Marathon means something different to every runner who’s participated or dreamed about participating. Altra Elite Athlete and two-time Olympian Kara Goucher’s three Boston Marathon experiences created life-long memories she’ll never forget.

Find out what Kara learned in each of these three unique experiences. When you read her words, you’ll feel her deep love for the course, the community, and the challenge that can only be found in Boston.








I was lucky to run Boston 3 times in my elite career. I was overwhelmed with how much I loved the race, the course, and the community that supported it. Boston will always have a special place in my heart. Each year I ran it, I learned something new about the race and about myself.


My first Boston was in 2009. As I started prepping for the race, I went out a couple of times to learn the course. I was blown away by the support I received from the Boston Marathoner organizers. I instantly fell in love with the course, especially the part of the Newton Hills. I loved the neighborhoods, which reminded me a lot of my hometown of Duluth, Minnesota, and thrived on the community support of the race.


Although I fell in love with Boston, 2009 was a tough year for me. I thought I had a chance to win the race and made an error in doubting myself. I pushed with 6 miles to go, but then doubt kicked in. Looking back, I wish that I had continued pushing; I should have trusted my gut.


I finished in 3rd and was so disappointed. But I realized later that the city celebrated me just landing on the podium. I also really learned what a challenging course Boston is. There aren’t many turns, but the course is constantly changing, and you must be in tune with yourself.


Splits will not always work the way you want them to. However, the big lesson I learned in 2009 was that I needed to trust myself when I was out there. Another big takeaway was just how much the Boston running community lifted me and appreciated my performance.

My favorite moment [of my first Boston] would have been leading the final 6 miles until about 1/2 mile to go, feeling the excitement radiating off the crowds, feeling their energy and taking it in. It was really magical to feel such support from the crowds lining the way.



I went back to Boston in 2011, less than 7 months after giving birth to my son. It felt like it was a big moment for women with children; that you could come back and love and compete in the sport while being a mother. I wasn’t quite as fit as I’d hoped I’d be, but I rode the excitement of the crowds and the toughness of my competitors to a personal best.


My little chunky baby waited for me at the finish line with my husband. Although I finished 5th and off the podium, I felt like I had really shown that you aren’t dead after giving birth! That you can come back and be one of the best in the world. The appreciation I felt from the running community that day— but especially from other women— was so touching.


It really pushed me along the course and helped me see that winning isn’t always the most important thing. I had shared my personal journey back to racing with the fans and community and connected with so many people. It really connected me to the running community in a way I had never been before.

My favorite memory [from my second Boston] would have been seeing Adam (my husband) holding Colt (my son) at the finish line. Picking him up and realizing that my life was so much more than running and knowing I had shown moms everywhere that they should keep chasing their dreams.


2013 was the last time I ran the Boston Marathon. I had been injured leading up to it and had missed a couple of weeks of training. I was stressed because I missed the last two weeks of the hard training and was finally feeling good, but it was time to taper.


I kept telling myself that I knew the course and could perform better than expected. And that’s what happened. I finished 6th but ran well and stayed smart— running down people over the final two miles. It was a good lesson to see that even when things don’t go perfectly, you can still have a good and solid race.


Of course, 2013 was also the year of the horrible bombing. That experience has actually stood with me everyday, even now. For me, it was a reminder that life is short and that I need to really spend my time with those I love and cherish. It really made me prioritize my family life.


It was a horrible situation; innocent lives were lost, and people were terribly injured. But it also changed the way I prioritized my family. Once again, it also showed me the beauty of the running community in the way it came together after the tragedy.

My favorite moment (from my last Boston) was definitely the final couple of miles where I ran a few runners down and got to see my son— this time standing, waiting for me to finish.




With our Slim FootShape Fit and soft yet responsive ride, you might see Kara training in the Rivera 2 on her neighborhood roads.

If she's craving extra cushion and support, Kara may lace up the Paradigm 6 with Altra EGO MAX foam and GuideRail technology for natural foot placement.