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Area Boston Marathon runner surprised at finish line with baby gender reveal
Mark Crockett and Mandy Crockett
Husband Mark Crockett was waiting at the finish line for Mandy Crockett on Monday, April 16, after she ran the Boston Marathon with pink balloons, revealing his wife was pregnant with their fourth daughter. (Photo courtesy of Hilarie Cook)
‘The best thing was for me was to be at the 18-mile mark, but I wasn’t able to be there because the train was late and she was going faster than I think we had expected. So I took the train to Boston, and I went to the finish instead. I probably had about 10 minutes to spare before she crossed.’
Mark Crockett
Mark Crockett and Mandy Crockett
Mandy Crockett, a West Hall High graduate, runs in this year’s Boston Marathon.(Photo courtesy of MarathonFoto)
As Mandy Crockett crossed the finish line at this year’s Boston Marathon, she began to look around.

The weather wasn’t ideal as it had rained heavily off-and-on throughout the race, so it was hard to see.

She was looking for balloons, though — pink or blue. She had been searching for them floating above the crowd the entire 26.2 miles, but hadn’t seen anything except a group of orange balloons, which she knew couldn’t be right.

She was searching for her husband, Mark Crockett, too. After enlisting the help of a police officer, Mandy Crockett exclaimed, “We’re having a girl,” when she saw him standing with a bouquet of pink balloons.

“A lady was wheeling me around because I couldn’t walk anymore,” said Mandy Crockett, who grew up in Gainesville and graduated from West Hall High. “So I just hobbled my way across the street to find him. We’re really excited to have our fourth girl. We’re really good at what we do, so we’re keeping to that.”

She’s 20 weeks pregnant and finished the marathon with a time of 4:18:42, which she said was the fastest marathon she’s run. As it turns out, she said, training while pushing a stroller that carries two of her other children actually made her faster.

She set a goal and made a deal with her daughters, Caroline, 6, Hannah, 4, and Lorelei, 2, that she would run in the marathon after she realized her time had gotten good enough to qualify. It wasn’t easy, though. She said training for a marathon while being pregnant was an entirely new experience for her.

“I didn’t miss a single training run,” Mandy Crockett said. “But dealing with the morning sickness and dealing with your knees and your hips and your joints are all kind of — you don’t know what to expect from them.”

She knew she had to find a way to motivate herself during the race, so she came up with the idea of doing a gender reveal, announcing the gender of her baby as a surprise to herself and others. That element of surprise and suspense would keep her going during the race. She wanted something unique for her fourth child and had never done a big gender announcement before, so she came up with the idea to have her husband surprise her with balloons during the race.

As soon as he dropped her off for the marathon, he opened the envelope that had the gender results in it and had to quickly find pink balloons and get back to surprise her. The weather made it a little more difficult than he had planned.

“The best thing was for me was to be at the 18-mile mark, but I wasn’t able to be there because the train was late and she was going faster than I think we had expected,” Mark Crockett said. “So I took the train to Boston, and I went to the finish instead. I probably had about 10 minutes to spare before she crossed.”

Her sisters had flown to Boston to surprise her, so they met her at the 11-mile mark, which encouraged her to make it to the finish line when she didn’t see her husband a few miles later.

“Without my sisters being there and knowing that he was at the end, I don’t think I would have wanted to finish it,” Mandy Crockett said.

She and her husband were hoping for a girl, and they both expected it to be since they already had three. Even though Mark Crockett said this pregnancy has been different with more sickness and new cravings, he was still “banking on it being a girl.”

At the end of the race, Mandy Crockett was happy to see life around their house would continue as normal.


“Our life is just full of tea parties and dancing and cuddling,” Mandy Crockett said. “That’s our world right now.”

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