On April 17, 2017, I ran the Boston Marathon. This is going to sound just as strange to you as it is to me. It was my 7th marathon in the past 6 months. I decided to run the marathon directly after my second marathon last year, Philadelphia Marathon. In the months leading up to it I watched countless documentaries on the Boston Marathon Bombing (the best was, HBO) and the Patriot’s Day film, which was incredible. If you didn’t see those two, stop reading, go watch them, then come back. The stress leading up to this marathon I could only equate to that of my first, but somehow it was more intense.
I started the trip on my way from NYC to Boston via Amtrak. What a ride. I slept the entire way. I got into Boston, went directly to my hotel and then the expo. Now the expo had a lot to live up to. It boasted as the greatest expo in the country. I’m not sure who voted, but I’m going to have to give that title to the expo at the TCS NYC Marathon. Sorry Boston. It was great…just not the best. It was a very exciting moment to pick up my bib…I do have it on tape…go watch it. I snapped a few pictures and of course was starving.
Getting there only a day early has its ups and downs. You don’t have much time to get acclimated to the city, but you have less time to stress over the next day’s title bout. I slammed down lunch and went back to the hotel to rest up for dinner. Dinner was quick and I was back in the hotel by 9pm to get prepared to hit snooze 100 times.
I woke up way too early, 5:30am. I watched television and continued to rest while getting mentally prepared to start the day. I had a banana, got dressed and made my way downstairs to check on the shuttles timing. On the bus, I met Jane, originally from Madagascar, 40 years living in Montreal. Jane’s a 61-year-old Boston Marathon qualifier. Cue the Swinger’s line. “You’re so money and you don’t even know it”. She was so humble and funny. It’s her 4th marathon, and according to her it’ll be her last. We’ll see about that.
Off the shuttle bus, leads up to the cheese buses. You know, those big dopey buses that once took you to elementary school. After a 45 minute drive out to Hopkinton, we’re now in Marathon Village. I couldn’t have timed this more perfectly. I had time to go to the restroom, get some Gatorade, stretch and then it was time to go to the start.
At the start we got blocked into sections. I was in section 3. I met Belma, who worked for Roxbury Community College. It was great to meet her. We ended up starting the race together and ran for about the first 8 or 9 miles before she broke up and busted out in front of me.
The race was amazing. Everything you dreamed it would be, it was. The crowd support was just roaring with noise for 26 miles. There is no apex. It’s just a straight course with no turns until the end. That part was trippy. It just kept going and going and going and going. Up and down rolling hills. I have to bring up this heartbreak hill. Ok, it’s a hill. It’s tough. But basically the entire race is rolling hills. So by the time you get to the heartbreak, you’re like, what, was that it? I mean, you want to see a hill that makes people cry? Go run the Killington VT Spartan Race Beast. I think they call it, “The Death March”. Now that’ll break your heart and spirit.
In the spirit of this race being on it’s 4th year after that tragedy in 2013, the crowd was just incredible. If you had your name on your shirt, hint , hint, you heard your name being screamed every 100 feet. It was just an amazing race. At the finish, I stopped, I walked, and just waved to the VIP’s at the final stretch. That was probably the moment I’ll never forget.