Second year in a row for me attending the big race weekend in Boston as a spectator. I had qualifying times last September but didn’t want to run it every year, so the opportunity to see the race and be a part of the weekend was a good one for me.
I stayed in an Airbnb apartment with Maureen – this was a suite in a Harvard Graduate tower located on Brookline Ave near Fenway Park. It proved to be a really convenient location for eating, traveling around the area, T-subway stops, and the train to Wellesley on race morning. There was a Panera Bread nearby for breakfast and we rented the city bikes for use when the weather was acceptable. Which for this weekend, was Saturday.
Saturday began with the BAA 5k. We rode there, scoping out the Boylston St finish line which police were prepping for a portion of the course. We met Mary Sarah and Steve, Ricky and Nina to see the event. Steve and I squirreled over near the elites warming up and getting ready for the race. A few notable names, plenty I didn’t know, Ben True was there, but Molly Huddle is out since she is racing the marathon.
Next, we went to the expo – crowded and almost as if it were in a basement at the Seaport location. We saw vendors, met some friends, waited through the end of Amby Burfoot and Bobbi Gibbs’ talk to say hi to Anne Wessling. She tipped us off that Jordan Hasay would not be doing her scheduled talk. There was another opportunity to see her at the Sword booth. I didn’t want to wait for that – it was on a skinny aisle and it would be chaotic.
The expo was better at the Hynes Convention Center!
We went to the Boylston St things, Runner’s World Pop Up Store and Addidas Run Base. We saw Amby Burfoot again at Runner’s World, and listened to the coach of the Northern Arizona elite team and Kellyn Taylor talk about their training and Monday’s race.
We visited Tracksmith and met Ryan Linden and Ben True, promoting their new coffee company. I bought the nice plaid hat, which later in the weekend would be a famous piece of attire.
We went around the Back Bay area and then met Cami and Jeff for a great dinner at Capital Grille. Then a quick zip to the apartment and a good sleep with a stomach full of steak and wine.
Sunday’s warmup run with Meb was changed to a Meb Q&A speech. The weather wasn’t so bad, but the forecast was for rain and wind. After Meb’s talk, we did a shakeout run with the McMillan Group from Tracksmith, a short, less than 3 mile run along the cold Charles River. Once back it was more coffee and then a trolley ride to the expo again. We didn’t spend much more time there, however. We found out about a meetup with Desi Linden and put that on the calendar! I came back near the finish line for the marathonpacing.com group photo. Since it was now windy and raining, we went back to get more dry clothes and look for possible rain gear at REI near our apartment. Then we took the T subway to the athlete dinner, which after a short wait in the cold, was a good meal with a few 26.2 Sam Adams beers. We met folks from Jupiter, Singapore and a guy from nearby that was running his 29th consecutive Boston Marathon! and then back home. Conditions were swirling for tomorrow’s race. This was a sign of what we’d experience all of Monday.
Race day – A Panera oatmeal and time for the train to Wellesley. We took a 9am train west – which meant a 45-minute wait on a cold and exposed platform at Yawkey station. I met a group from Oregon, they were here to see Boston’s course for the first time. We could see the water aid station being set up on the overpass from Brookline to Kenmore Square. The train was on time and crowded, a $7.50 fare took us to Wellesley Square station for the first part of the race.
It was really wet and windy on Rte 135. We ducked into Peet’s Coffee to figure out how to wait for the first wheelchair racers AND stay dry. We ended up walking west and settling under a covered awning, still exposed to the cols and spray of rain. An umbrella wouldn’t have worked for today’s weather. We found a real estate office that planned on setting up a popcorn machine and bottled water station outside for locals and fans. They ended up putting their giveaways indoors, which gave us a place to track runners on the BAA app out of the weather. Then we could pop outside to the barriers and cheer for the racers. They eventually put the live telecast on a conference room TV, so we could follow the media coverage of the race, too. Phone charging, clean restrooms, and a warm place was very appreciated!
We saw the pro wheelchairs, elite women, then the elite men. We tracked many local friends, stayed outside to cheer and get their attention. Some saw me yelling, others I couldn’t find at all. The crazy costumes and raingear made it difficult to ID people. REALLY DIFFICULT! Sammy Luttier, Adam Schiff, Ian Kulin, Gary Walk, and Cami saw us and appreciated the support. Some pics of them below…
We drove with Jeff to Boston and set up again in Kenmore Square. The wind was stronger, the runners were weather-beaten, and so many ponchos and articles of clothing were in the street. The rain really picked up, we didn’t see anyone we knew as long as we were there. We saw some people had dropped out or their time stopped on the app. We moved indoors to Tracksmith for the VIP watch party and happy hour – always fun! The CoffeebyLT was still being served, along with beer and pizza. I was soaked wet, having a porta-potty without a line was nice. I knew we should have been able to find others we knew, but that was tough due to the lousy weather. We walked down Boylston St towards the finish line and felt how strong the driving winds and rain pushed back. It was some special day just to be a finisher!
Next was a visit to a private party for the elite finishers that we were not let into. We met Cami and Jeff for their post-race debrief. She was fine, better than most finishers! After that, we went to see Dave McGillivary finish his 46th consecutive Boston Marathon. Meb and his brother were also there to meet him – he is everywhere on race weekend, plus he ran the marathon! Neat to see that at 10pm…
We went to some of the restaurants and bars on Boylston to finish the night. There were definitely less people around and out due to the lousy weather. Most runners were home still figuring how to warm up or piece together what they had just completed. Our bartender claimed to be a “track runner.” Maybe the Nike/NB outfit was a costume for more tips or perhaps she was working her way through track season. Anything’s possible on Boylston St. That was very evident today. It was a wild day to race a marathon.
Tuesday was a recovery talk and more LT coffee at Tracksmith with Steve and Mary Sarah. We went to the North End for some sightseeing and Regina Pizza. With an afternoon flight alone – everyone else flew the later direct to PBI, I had to get there earlier than most. Once I was there, I opted off the oversold plane and got a flight credit for the future. I was worn out tired and tucked into a window seat for the flight home. I dozed off with my head against the wall in an exit row seat that did not recline.
It was a good adventure to be a part of more run history with Desi’s win and the crazy race conditions. Next year I’ll run the marathon, hoping for more of the good weather I usually experience when I’m in the mix!