It's Marathon Day here in Massachusetts. Sure, there is a holiday of sorts called Patriots' Day, but most everyone knows it as Marathon Monday.
Marathon Day is the culmination of all the work that is done all year by the Boston Athletic Association. It's an exciting day for everyone involved. You've got the butterflies and feel mounting excitement, just like the runners. The day goes by in a blur and before you know it the finish line is jammed with people who have accomplished a major goal - finishing Boston.
The marathon holds many special memories for me, mostly of the people I met; the good friends that came into my life. But my favorite memory of race day itself is one that you might not expect.
Putting elite athletes on the bus to Hopkinton? No, that's like putting your kids on the bus for their first day of school! Do they have everything? Did you help them enough? Are they prepared?
Watching the start of the race? No, that is a 'hold your breath' type of moment.
Watching the progress of the race off and on in the press room? Certainly not. That is just nerve-wracking!
Getting the break tape, flowers, laurel wreaths and finishers medals to the finish line? No, that's just part of the job.
Watching the winners come down Boylston Street? That's close, especially when you know a winner of a division or there is a record being broken!
But the best part of the day for me was at 6am. You don't sleep much the night before the marathon when you are part of the organizing team and you are up very early tending to all of those last minute details.
At 6am each marathon morning that I worked there I'd go outside, walk over to the finish line and walk straight up the middle of Boylston Street. It was so peaceful! The crowds aren't there yet, the media hasn't arrived, runners are no where to be found. Sometimes there were a couple of guys putting up the last of the barriers, but other than that, there wasn't a sound. Streets are blocked off around Copley Square and the city hasn't quite woken up yet on this holiday. I'd walk up Boylston to Hereford, where the runners come on to Boylston and then back down. It was my time to breathe, relax and enjoy the calm before the storm because by the time I got back to the hotel, we were in high gear for the rest of the day and evening. But those few minutes were just magical for me.
All the best to the marathon team this year, especially 'master of ceremonies', Race Director Dave McGillivray, and start line announcer Sue Smith.
And, of course, best of luck to each of the runners. May you experience cool conditions, a tailwind and your own personal triumphs along the way.
Happy Marathon Day!
Just a marathon tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.