Boston Strong. Grinnell Proud.

April 2018


Latitude team member Kristin Adkins finishes the Boston Marathon amidst grueling weather conditions.

As a family-run business that grew out of our founders garage to a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, Latitude Signage knows about vision, perseverance, and grit. Earlier this month long-time team member Kristin Adkins completed the Boston Marathon in freezing temperatures and driving rain. We couldn’t be prouder of her personal achievement. Kristin’s determination against all odds embodies the tenacious spirit Latitude values.

"Well that was a memorable, horrible, wonderful, epic adventure. I’ve never run in conditions that brutal. Around mile 16 my body decided it was not thriving and instead went into surviving. My mind had to shift from competing to just completing. I’m not sure how I found the finish line. Like many I was experiencing hypothermic symptoms. I’m so proud that I finished and so proud of everyone else who finished." - Shalane Flanagan, Olympic distance runner

This quote from Shalane almost perfectly describes my Boston running experience! Except for me, it was at mile 23. But let me back up first.

Here Kristin shares her triumphant victory over mother nature--and the mother of all races:


Running the Boston Marathon is an earned honor. Runners cannot just sign up to run, they must qualify first. In 2015 a group of my running friends convinced me to jump into my first marathon and join them at the Illinois Marathon in Champaign. I was hooked on the marathon distance from that point, completing four marathons that year. I also spend that summer watching several of them train for and successfully quality for Boston. Following their progress and then watching their Boston race, inspired me to figure what I would need to do to become fast enough to qualify – including wondering if I could even be fast enough to meet the qualification standard.


I contacted running coach Tim Ives (The Body Project) and we began training. Tim is an amazing coach. He knows exactly how hard to push me, what to say to challenge me, and believes that I can do things that I didn’t think were possible. With Tim’s training and guidance, the support of my local running community (Capital Striders) and my amazing running friends, I ran the Chicago Marathon in October 2016 with a finish time of 3:50:05 – 4 minutes 55 seconds under the qualifying standard for my age and sex!


Earning your way to Boston is the work – being there is the celebration! My daughter is currently living in Connecticut, so she joined me in Boston. The city of Boston really goes all out for this event and everywhere you go, you see runners sporting their 2018 Boston Marathon qualifier jackets. The day before the race we went on an official tour of the race course and then spent the afternoon at the race expo. Everything had been leading up to this!


Race day weather was everything the weatherman forecasted and more. I’m pretty certain that was the worst running conditions I’ve experienced. It was just miserable. Temperatures in the high 30s, gusting winds and heavy rain for the entire race. I wore my glasses to help keep the rain out of my eyes, but they were at least partially fogged over the whole time. But hey, foggy vision was better than rain stabbing my eyes.

I had intended to run this race to enjoy the experience of Boston, without setting any time goals. Under those conditions, both time goals and enjoyment were out the window. It was a race that most of us ran just to survive (finish), and to get the coveted finisher’s medal and the bragging rights of having run Boston.


My greatest blessing that day (other than finishing the race) was having my daughter there to meet me at the finish. I was shivering from the cold and my hands wouldn't function. She gathered me up helped me into dry clothes. We were welcomed back at our hotel by a cheering squad of hotel employees who welcomed every returning runner. Then we stopped in the hotel bar for a celebratory drink.


What’s next? I am inspired to qualify and run Boston again so I can experience the race under less awful conditions. So that’s definitely in my head. And I’m already registered to run the Marine Corps Marathon (Washington DC) in October.

>> Watch Kristin's race overview video here

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