I will admit to some anxiety leading up to the Marathon…
But let me just say that my anxiety had NOTHING to do with safety. I felt perfectly safe the entire time I was in Boston and I knew the measures the BAA were taking to ensure the safety of everyone. I had every confidence in those plans too. Not once did I feel unsafe.
The anxiety that I felt, instead, had to do with not knowing how I would react throughout the day emotionally. It had already been an emotional weekend and I knew that being at the actual Marathon was not going to be less emotional.
There was also some concern about spectating with my parents. As I kept telling them, I was amongst my people. I was perfectly content watching people run by me all day. But I wasn’t sure if standing all day would be good for my parents.
After grabbing breakfast at the hotel early, we walked down to Boylston. In all reality, there was no better way to get there. We had more than enough time to get there and find a good place to spectate. I had always intended to see the elites go by and I knew that we would need to get there early to get a decent viewing spot.
There were check points for getting near the race course and at each check point your bag (if you had one) was going to be inspected and then tagged. I had made it very clear to my parents before we left for the trip that carrying as little as possible to spectate was the smartest option. Mom then (smartly) found some see through bags for us. They were big enough to carry the bare essentials but not much else.
It didn’t take us too much time to get through the security check point but after that there were definitely crowds to get through.
We found a decent open area and told dad to hang out there while mom and I tried to get closer to the finish line just to look.
But as we were walking there, we walked past a Pret a Manger that had tables and chairs outside and NO ONE WAS USING THEM. Mom grabbed a table and three chairs for us and I went to get dad. SCORE!
My anxieties about standing all day spectating were now gone.
We relaxed and just enjoyed the crowds while I checked twitter and FB like crazy to get updates on where the Wheelchair participants and the elites were along the course. My dad and I bantered over whether or not the guys wearing bras over their shirts were participating in a pledge prank or trying to raise cancer awareness… turns out we were both right. And yes, we both enjoyed an “I told you so”
I was keeping tabs on where Shalane was along the course and was impressed at the speed the women were going at. I was also following the men and knew that Meb was in the lead. The wheelchair participants were making good time and getting closer and close to the finish line. I was getting increasingly more excited.
It was easy to tell when the wheelchair participants got close to the finish line because you could hear the crowd erupting into cheers and screams and clapping. It was so wonderful to hear that kind of support.
Soon I saw the lead car for the women and I hopped onto my chair so I could see better. I knew that Shalane had fallen out of first but the crowd still erupted as the women came into view with Rita Jeptoo in the lead. Everyone was screaming and clapping. When Shalane came by the crowd was even louder… which I didn’t think was possible.
I saw the lead car for the men and I stood on my chair again. Then I saw it… I saw Meb go flying by and from my vantage point, I didn’t see another man within reach of him. I was screaming his name and cheering and screaming to my parents that it was MEB!! The crowd was insanely loud and I am not sure if I would have been able to hear myself think if I had tried… I didn’t know if my parents knew who he was while I was screaming his name like a maniac but it was incredible to see him run by. Shortly after I found out (thank you, Twitter) that he had won… an American Male Won Boston for the first time since 1983 and I was there to see it live!!! I was beyond excited! Thcrowd was insanely loud. I am not sure if I would have been able to hear myself think if I had tried…
I was even able to teach my parents some things about the Marathon in general and about the Boston Marathon in Particular.
Soon Boylston was filled with runners and I was standing on my chair clapping and yelling for all of them. I didn’t care that I didn’t know anyone out there. I was so happy to see so many runners completing the Boston Marathon. It was incredible!
I pretty much stood on that chair clapping and cheering and screaming all day.
Amongst one of the most incredible things that I saw was runners helping each other. It was HOT… well… for a Marathon. It was great for spectators but it was close to 70 by about 1:00 and the sun was shinning bright. I know it was far too warm for a marathon and I know that Boston is known to be a challenging course.
There were a lot of runners who were clearly dealing with leg cramps and extreme fatigue and dehydration. I saw a lot of staggering too.
But I also saw a group of runners hold up another runner who was clearly far too dehydrated and done. They stopped their own race to help her (and I found out after the fact that there were two such instances). It was so incredible to see that kind of support for each other. And the crowd showed how wonderful they thought it was too.
Soon I realized that I was getting sun burn… well… that I was sun burnt. It never occurred to me to wear sun screen while spectating all day long. It was close to three and I knew it would take us a while to get back to the hotel.
So we started to make our way back and it is a good thing I had gone to check the course the day before because we were not allowed to cross the course at all. We relaxed at the hotel for about an hour and a half and then headed out to grab dinner.
It was such an incredible day and I am so blessed and honored to have been able to be a part of it!