Twenty-five years ago, Melanie Hire challenged herself with a tall task. Ten weeks prior to the 1994 Boston Marathon, Hire gave birth to the youngest of her three children. She felt like her son was born early enough in February to allow enough time for her to recover and adequately prepare to be at the starting line in April to run Boston. It was an ambitious plan, to say the least.
“My mentality was that I was going for it,” Hire recalled. “It was just something I wanted to do.”
Not only did she accomplish her lofty goal, she did so in impressive fashion, finishing the difficult course in a time of 4 hours, 20 minutes.
“My only claim to fame,” joked Hire, a Dracut resident.
Well, you could also call the fact that the 57-year-old has completed 10 Boston Marathons a pretty worthy claim to fame as well. Back in 1990, as a first-timer, she posted an excellent time of 3 hours, 27 minutes. Throughout the 90s, Hire was a staple at the annual event.
Her daughter Lindsey was born in 1991. She grew up watching her mom run Boston and vividly remembers the thrill of seeing her after she finished each time.
“It was always like a big family thing,” said Lindsey. “My mom, my grandmother, my dad — we’d go in and watch her. I just always loved it and grew up hoping to do it one year. We recently had the loss of my grandmother and grandfather, and this year we applied to get in (Boston), and we got in.”
On Monday, the mother-daughter duo will indeed be running the 123rd Boston Marathon together. Melanie will do it for the 11th time and it will be Lindsey’s first. The symmetry is perfect as Melanie ran for the first time as a 28-year-old, and Lindsey is 28.
They will both be representing the Greater Lowell Road Runners. Melanie and Lindsey completed the Bay State Marathon in Lowell last October.
“I stopped running Boston after a while because it is really hard,” said Melanie. “But Lindsey wanted to get into the race. Usually the chances of two family members getting in is close to none. I’m excited that we were able to.”
Melanie introduced Lindsey to distance running when she was about 11-years-old. However, it took Lindsey a while to warm up to the sport.
“I hated it at first,” said Lindsey, who ran cross country at Dracut High School. “I couldn’t even run a mile. It was so bad. If you asked me back then if I could see myself running a marathon, I’d say ‘no.’ But (running) is something that once you get out there and do it every day, it feels so rewarding.”
Melanie works at Washington Savings Bank during days, while Lindsey works evenings as a nurse in Haverhill. During the work week in the months leading up to now, Melanie was up and at it early, doing her training runs at 4:30 a.m., while Lindsey did her training at 10:30 a.m. On Saturdays, they ran together.
“We go out and we’re just grinding and pushing each other,” said Melanie. “It’s great and it’s fun.”
Those 4:30 runs probably felt like sleeping-in for Melanie. When her kids were younger, the alarm would go off at 2:30 a.m. and she’d run from 3:30 a.m. to 5 a.m., while the rest of the household was sound asleep.
“I love it. You get the coffee ready the night before and it’s all ready to go for you,” Melanie said. “If it’s cold, you go run a mile and you warm right up.”
Melanie said running the 100th Boston Marathon in 1996 was also memorable for her. That year, the marathon directors were looking for drivers to transport people to the race. Melanie’s parents ran a local bus company and heeded the call to help out.
Lindsey hopes 2019 will be the first of many Boston Marathons for her.
“There’s no bigger stage than Boston,” she said. “To be from the area, it just means a lot.”
Follow Matt Langone on Twitter @MattLangone