With 27 runners in the Marathon, 12 in the 5K and some friends and family we had quite the troop in Boston this year.
Race weekend officially started with the 5K on Saturday morning. The start time was moved to 9:30 this year which allowed everyone to get a little more sleep. Ian Govan took his traditional spot volunteering as a T-shirt guy. The rest of the non-runners played clothing sherpas and spectators. We had a very enthusiastic cheering section. In front of Au Bon Pain on Boylston street.
The winners were impressive (the winning time was 13:20) as was the shear number of runners. With 10,000 runners in a 5K unless you are one of the elites this is not a PB kind of race but there were lots of costumes and everyone was smiling.
Some of us got to Boston in time to pick up our bibs and visit the expo on Friday night which worked out well as the lines were very long on Saturday. At one point they were actually making people line up just to get into the building.
We added a new twist to the weekend this year with a free Sam Adams Brewery tour for runners, friends and family on Saturday night. The tour guide was amusing and the beer was free!
Sunday was hot! The temperature almost hit 30C. The sun was nice but it was not looking like great racing weather after a long cold winter. The final emails from the BAA included warnings about the heat and we all started reducing the amount of clothing in our pre-race warm up bags.
We had another great team dinner arranged by Brian in the Italian district. JR and I walked home from dinner in search of beers for post-race celebrations. We got slightly lost, learned that CSV does not sell beer but Wallgreens does and found ourselves in a slightly questionable part of town carrying cases of beer. But we made it back to the Boston Park Plaza without dropping anything.
Boston now has 4 waves and a 25 minute break between each one. The first buses leave Boston Common at 6:00am but runners in the later waves don’t need to be on them and in theory they are not allowed on them with 27 runners we had people in all four waves. Mike Blois was actually in the first coral of the first wave.
Over the years we have developed a system: the wave one runners and a few of the wave two runners take the first busses out and set-up camp K2J in one of the tents in Hopkinton. As they leave and other runners arrive and the spot is passed along. We usually adopt a few extra runners along the way.
This year we were a bit more spread out hotel wise so I headed to the busses alone and a little past 6:00 am thinking the others would be ahead of me. As always the bus ride to Hopkinton seemed to take way too long. When I arrived camp K2J was strangely empty. Kuniko was there and Brian was just arriving. His bus got lost on the way to Hopkinton and delivered everyone to a local cemetery. We hoped that was not a sign of the race to come! The three of us then set about trying to take up as much space as possible so there would be room for everyone else. They eventually appeared with tails of hotel shuttles that did not arrive and ubers called. John showed up wearing a cotton Sens Army shirt with the arms ripped off apparently he had declared the night before that he would run in it if the Sens won. We all hoped he had a lot of body glide!
We did the usual pre-race stuff, hung around ate bagels and stood in line for the bathrooms. It was warm but cooler than Sunday thank goodness.
The people of Boston were out along the course in full force as always. Kids on trampolines, front yard BBQ’s one woman on a pogo stick , lots of music lots of cheering and more than a few people out having a few beers on a lovely day. Apparently there was also a house on fire but it started after I passed. It was warm
Six of us are actually signed up to do Boston to Big Sur so we all planned to run conservatively. James even started a wave back from his assigned wave and ran with Randy. I took the first half easy, felt great at the halfway point and actually had a pretty even split. Turns out holding back for the first half on a marathon is actually a good idea (who knew?)
Actually in general we discovered that holding back worked well. James, John, Randy and I all ended up crossing the finish line at more or less then same time. Randy was a bit wobbly but we managed to keep him moving and upright.
I hobbled back to the Boston Park Plaza which is very convenient to the finish line and full of runners. They actually have staff lined up clapping for the runners as they enter the lobby. After you go past the cheering station they present you with a bag of ice!
The post-race celebration started in the hotel and was followed up by a fine dinner. There were 30 of us at dinner and we were a bit of a sight as we walked past Boston Gardens (where the Sens were playing the Bruins). Boston has always been very supportive of the marathon but I was surprised by people banging on bar windows and clapping for us as we walked by in our Boston Jackets. When we entered the restaurant everyone clapped for us! Until they spotted Rick in his Sens jersey!
We walked back to the hotel and got lost (although JR would claim we were never lost). The guys made it back to JR’s room in time to watch the end of the game where John and JR made a bet about the game. JR was seen Thursday night in a Sens jersey. One PB and 16 BQ's!
Congrats to all!