One cannot fathom what it means to run the Boston Marathon unless you have the opportunity. As a city Boston totally embraces the event. You are in Marathonville U.S.A.
While on the plane traveling from Baltimore to Boston, there were people sitting all around me getting ready for the event. People were all a buzz with excitement, one runner was talking about how even though it was their third time running the event the thrill of running this event was still amazing. I overheard another runnerthat had run the Boston Marathon 20 times and this would be their tenth year in a row. What an incredible streek. I admit, I thought that was nice but didn’t get why would they want to run the same race over and over. Let’s face it Boston is an expensive race to participate in. Most people travel far and wide to run the hallowed ground that is Boston, airfare isn’t cheap. Add in hotel, food, and don’t forget about the money you will spend at the expo. After getting off the plane, before I met up with my family at the airport, I see is a sign “Mile 26.2”, so cool! What an entrance to Boston.
The Pickup and Meet-up
The day before the race headed to the convention center to pick up my bib and meet up with some other dailymile people. Driving into the city to the expo I saw so many people preparing to support the runners, stores with signs and light posts holding flags etc. When I arrived at the convention center and there were already a few dailymile members at the expo, I was able to see Brian A., Ann B. , Leslie M. , Carol B. , Tony B., Chris S., Caleb K.
It was great to meet people face to face that I connect with all the time on dailymile. All of us were jazzed with anticipation for our runs. After I picked up my bib and gear, I headed outside to see the finish area of the race downtown. There were so many people posing and getting shots of the city before the race day. You had the feeling they were trying to capture this moment as a manifestation of all their hard work. This is running Mecca.
The Big Day
Just like any morning, heading to the race my nerves were a little tense. I got on the bus and began the journey to the start of the race. Ross J. from MN (who I never met before except through dailymile) got on the bus too, we formally intriduced ourselves and chatted away, what a great way to start the day. As we ventured through the starting area we met up with a few other dailymilers, Charlie P. , Lisa R.
Over all the feeling of the pre-race was more relaxed than I had expected. After a couple of hours hanging out, right before the race I spotted Steve S., Peter L. & Andy O. All of us headed to the start in our separate corrals. The excite and the energy was growing.
My heart was pumping and I could feel the crowd getting electrified, some runners were there to race hard and others were more relaxed (I was on the relaxed side.) Since this race has been run over 100 years, the start felt like something special, something almost holy. 20 miles outside the city of Boston, we were ready to begin. It took about three minutes to actually get to the starting line of the race after the gun went off.
Overall, the race was continuous rolling hills. There are a few key highlights and landmarks to make note of. Each of the eight towns you run through has a unique sign. I loved looking at the ground and seeing a miler marker in the road itself. Running through Wellesley, the cheers from the school got louder and louder, it must have been a half mile past the main cheering section and the cheering was still loud. When you make it “Heart Break Hill” the half mile incline gets the best of anyone.
After mile 19 my legs were feeling rough, I kept trying to keep the pace going. Every time I saw and heard the crowd I sucked up their energy to keep pushing forward. At Mile 24-25 I hear “I know you” and I got to see my new friend Ross again. We got to run the last two miles cheering and taunting the crowd. It really made the end of the race just perfect.
Before Boston I thought about this being like any other race, I was excited but was relaxed about what to expect. Between meeting so many people, spending time with my family and seeing what it means for a city to embrace a race I took away 3 valuable lessons.
- It is amazing the friendships you make at a race.
- When a city and the people embrace a race, it becomes so much more than just a race.
- There is only one Boston Marathon!
I hope many others get to experience this one day, it is a truly great memory.
About the Author
Brodie W: I just run, I run a lot! I am a high mileage runner that runs over 170 miles per month and averages sub 8 min mile pace on the road. I have tried many shoes and limit my shoes to motion control/stability options which support my extreme pronation issue with my flat arch and I require custom orthotics. I don’t have issues with weight maintaining around 170 lb. Over all, I am a heel to inner roll foot striker but my arches collapse when I run. I have been a long distance runner for over 11 years and have completed 6 marathons, 1 ultra, 1 Olympic triathlon, and many other shorter races.