Wednesday, April 23

Boston report, part 2

Thanks to everyone for their comments. By popular demand, I guess I'd be glad to talk a little more about the race.

One thing you don't realize until you've done it is how much is just on a winding two-lane road lined with houses and small towns, completely different from the last couple of miles in the heart of Boston. The start of one of the most famous marathons in the world is literally just a line on the road in front of the Citgo station in Hopkinton. And from there you run through a neighborhood that peters out into a fairly long stretch with nothing but woods on either side of the road. It's a real contrast to the last couple of miles amid the high-rises of downtown Boston.

Wellesley is about halfway. It's an all-girls college. They love the race. They love the racers. 'Nuff said. (I unfortunately missed the one student who was out there holding a sign inviting runners to plant one on her cheek. I heard about this from someone who actually did.)

I overheard a couple of runners chatting near me around mile 10.

Woman: "...yeah, right now we're on a great pace for sub-3-hours."
Man: "Cool. What's your previous best time for a marathon?"
Woman: "3:49."

Unfortunately I didn't get to hear what her training secrets that allowed her to be on pace to shave 50 MINUTES off her PR.

I got the impression from talking to people that Boston must be one of the most running-aware cities in the country, at least as far as the Boston Marathon goes. Even people who would never lace up running shoes unless it was at gunpoint seemed to know a fair amount about the race and its history. The marathon falls on a local public holiday, and there's more than a few families who make it an annual tradition to pack a picnic lunch, drive out to the course, and spend a few hours screaming at runners, even if they have no other connection to the race. It's impressive.

I mean, I saw the evening sportscast on the local Boston news and the reporter, describing Cheruiyot's fourth win, said, "and here's name that's become a household word here in New England the last few years..." and I'm not sure he was being sarcastic.

Anyway, that's just a few random things that came to my head as I was pecking away at the keyboard about Boston. Also, if 45 minutes before the race, you get in a line for the port-a-potties that's 20 people long, at 15 minutes to race time you will still be nowhere near the front and will have a hard, hard decision to make. Especially since the cops are patrolling the nearby woods specifically to foil your plan B.

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