Ben Beach was poised to finish his record-breaking 46th consecutive Boston Marathon in 2013. The feat was perhaps most impressive because he has battled countless injuries over the past 30 years, including a neurological disorder that affects his stride. So last year, when the 63-year-old Maryland resident felt his Achilles give away around mile 10, he wasn’t discouraged. He just began to walk. Beach was at Heartbreak Hill when the bombs went off. He only made it to mile 21 before he was stopped for good. His wife had tickets for the finish line grandstands, but having seen him on the course earlier and knowing it would take him longer to finish because of the injury, wasn’t there when the bombs went off. “Had I been on schedule,” Beach told Runner’s World, “she very likely would have been down there.”
Marathons, of course, are always uncertain propositions—even after 45 straight finishes, anything can happen. But that doesn’t mean Beach won’t be back this year. As long as his health holds up, he’ll be back. He has a new streak to start.