Saturday, March 6, 2010

What's so great about The Boston Marathon?

When I was growing up in the small, southern Worcester county town of Oxford I never thought much about the Boston Marathon.  I, of course, knew when it was on because it seemed like every one of the 5 TV channels we got were covering it from beginning to end.  I never understood why so much time was spent talking about people running.  The newscasters seemed to be so excited about, not only the elite runners, but also the tens of thousands of other runners, all of which had absolutely no chance of winning.  Now keep in mind I'm talking about when I was between the ages of 10 and 18.

Now let's flash forward several years.  I met and started dating a lovely young lady from Natick, MA.  She would get, what I considered, disproportionately excited when the marathon came around.  She would always drag me to Natick center to stand and cheer on the runners. 

I thought this was ridiculous.  But there we were every year. Standing and cheering. I just didn't get it.

And then I made the decision to run in the marathon.  The people standing and cheering were amazing.  They lined the streets from Hopkinton to Boston and they never stopped cheering.  The first year that I ran I was near the back of the pack so I didn't get to Heartbreak Hill until about 4 hours after the start.  But there were still people on the side of the road calling out my name and urging me up the hill, telling me it was all down hill and that I could do it.  Now I should mention that at this time I was in absolute agony.  Everything on my body hurt.  Every step was pure torture.  But those people kept me going.  One of my favorite stories that first year, is when I was at about mile 22 or so  I was walking with my head down and feeling generally miserable I heard someone call out my name.  I looked over and I saw a group of about 4 or five college aged kids.  The guy that called out to me stretched out his arms and said   "Scott...I got a hug for you."  I looked at him, shrugged my shoulders and ambled over.  As I got there the whole group hugged me, patted me on the back and shouted encouragement to me.  It was a very surreal experience.  After all these were strangers and I was a sweaty old guy.  But the fact is that when I got there I was walking and when I left I was running again.  THAT is what is so great about the Boston Marathon.

Well I think it is time for me to get off my ass and put in a couple of miles.  Please see the poll to the left and let me know how long you think it will take me.

Til next time...

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