A Day At The Marathon [Photos]
This past Monday was Patriot's Day here in Massachusetts, a unique holiday celebrated in many different ways. The city of Boston celebrates the day with two iconic sporting events: an 11:00 a.m. Red Sox game and the annual running of the Boston Marathon. This year's 118th marathon featured about 36,000 runners, the second most on it's long history.
I had the great pleasure of following the Greater New Bedford Track Club up to the race to see how things had changed after last year's tragedies, but to also see the resilience of thousands of runners that weren't afraid to run the oldest and largest marathon in the world.
My day started around 4:30 a.m. when I hopped on the bus with the track club and headed to Hopkinton to Athlete's Village and the start line.
Inside the village, runners stretched out and rested while they waited for their start time. There was a large security presence in the village and all along the race course. There were National Guardsmen, state police from Massachusetts and surrounding states, federal agents, and municipal police officers everywhere.
Walking around the start line area in Hopkinton was like walking around a carnival ground. Families were out to watch the start of the race and there were dozens of vendors in the town green selling food and "Boston Strong" memorabilia. I got a real sense of pride that this town has for hosting the start line for the world's most iconic race.
The beginning of the race is split up into waves, so not all the runners start at the same time and clog up the course. Watching the runners take off and hearing the crowd cheer for them was such a cool experience. The crowd offered so much support all along the race course and runners said the energy from the crowd helped keep them going.
After all the waves had taken off, it was time for me to go back to the bus with track club president Dawn Nunes, her assistant Laurie, and the bus driver Joe. Once we got the okay to leave the staging area in Hopkinton, we headed for the finish line on Boylston St. in Boston.
Once we arrived in Boston, we were at the end of the finish line where the runners come off the course and look for their families and loved ones and head back to Boston Common to pick up their belongings. Being at the finish line and watching thousands of runners walk by after just running over 26 miles was surreal. Their faces bore expressions of either exhaustion or triumph. There were tears running down many faces and there were a lot of emotions in the large crowd of runners and spectators.
Attending this year's marathon was an absolutely amazing experience and I can't thank Dawn and all the track club members enough for letting me tag along with them. They are a great group of people and they did an amazing job.