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BOSTON (AP) — Alex McKinney has dodged cars, hurdled snow banks, slipped on ice and splashed through slushy puddles while training for the Boston Marathon.
Preparing for 26.2 miles is never easy, but this winter has been particularly trying for runners, who have had to deal with record snowfall in the Northeast.
Before they can even think about challenging Heartbreak Hill, they've had to endure slippery sidewalks, icy inclines and frozen footpaths.
"There are certainly times when you have to be quick," said McKinney, a 38-year-old physical therapist from Canton, who is preparing for his fifth run in Boston and 15th marathon overall. "I find myself thinking 'How high is that snow bank?' in case I have to jump it."
Some might be forgiven for thinking they're in training for the Iditarod.
Sidewalks often remain unplowed, forcing runners to run on streets narrowed dangerously by massive snow banks. Even when sidewalks or streets are cleared, they remain slippery. Cars blast past, inches away, honking horns, and sending frigid sheets of slush onto the runners. Piles of snow at intersections force runners to pause or stutter-step as they peer around them to check for vehicles.
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