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Encouraged by motivational signs, Kate Gustafson tops Boston Marathon open division

With former teammates, friends and family lining the race course, Vancouver's Kate Gustafson finished 25th overall at the Boston Marathon.

Kate Gustafson
Kate Gustafson
Kate Gustafson posing with her cheering squad after the Boston Marathon.

The American Northeast has treated Vancouver resident Kate Gustafson well in recent years. The 31-year-old was the top female in the open division at the Boston Marathon on April 18. During her college years, Gustafson attended Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. where she played NCAA Division I hockey.

Her former Union College teammates now live in Boston and were on course for the race, complete with homemade signs including “some girls chase boys, Kate passes them,” “go for the gusto,” and “love your stamina, call me.”

Cheered on by friends and family, Gustafson finished as the second overall Canadian, behind Ailsa MacDonald, in 2:51:13, good for 25th overall.

The elite women and the rest of the field began at different times so Gustafson did not see a single female competitor during the race. The elite women began approximately 30 minutes ahead of the rest of the field as runners made their way from Hopkinton, Mass. to Boylston Street in downtown Boston.

Kate’s brother, Ben, who lives in Toronto, was also in the race and ran 2:57:01, eclipsing his goal of breaking the three-hour barrier (the 27-year-old qualified with a 3:00:03). Based on age and sex, there are varying qualifying standards that entrants must meet to be eligible to run at the Boston Marathon, a world marathon major.

RELATED: Scott Arnald, Ailsa MacDonald the top Canadians at Boston Marathon.

Gustafson ran the Boston Marathon in 2009 but added that she wanted to run the race again, this time with her little brother. Their post-race photo is a keeper.

Kate Gustafson
Kate Gustafson after the Boston Marathon.

“I was also joined by my partner Michael, a runner as well, my cousin Liz [who] came up from Washington D.C. and my brother’s girlfriend, Ali, was also there to support,” says Gustafson. “It was awesome. Those three were cheering at the 16.8-mile [27K] mark.”

Today was fun. ???

A photo posted by Kate Gustafson (@atrueworld) on

Gustafson lives in Vancouver and writes for ivivva, a brand created by lululemon, in addition to owning a coaching business. She’s an advocate for female participation in sport and works with groups in Vancouver to bring the community together through running.

RELATED: Boston Marathon informal mascot, Catie Copley, to retire at age 14.

Her teammates also had the perfect view of Gustafson’s finish.

“My teammates hunkered down at a friend’s apartment overlooking the finishing stretch,” says Gustafson. The video of the Vancouver resident finishing can be found below with a perfect vantage point from a friend’s apartment along Boylston Street:

Monday’s Boston Marathon marked the 120th anniversary of the event, the world’s oldest continually run marathon, which was also the 50th anniversary of female participation. Bobbi Gibb was the first woman to unofficially finish the race in 1966.

Following the race, Gustafson also got a shout out from U.S. Olympic marathon qualifier Desi Linden, who finished second at the 2011 Boston Marathon: