Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Boston Marathon Report

...from Commonwealth Ave. [Pictures to come later]

No, I did not run the marathon. Yes, it is my dream to run Boston. No, I refuse to run as a bandit. Yes, I believe that those who run Boston without qualifying for it detract from the thousands of runners who spend sometimes years training to qualify for the marathon.

I left work early (very early) on Monday and went home to meet up with Anita, make some lunch to take with us, grab the cameras, and walk to the T. We took the subway to Kenmore station, near the CITGO sign. We found ourselves a nice clear spot around mile 25.4 and as I looked down the street to Kenmore Square I could see the timing clock. We arrived around 1:10 and were able to watch several of the wheelchair athletes pass. The winner of the men's wheelchair division had long passed our vantage point, but it was fascinating watching the others up close. There were not too many people there yet and we got ourselves situated, ate our lunches and pulled out our marathon guide from the Boston Globe.

It wasn't long before the first cadre of lead vehicles, a police motorcade and press trucks came into view, followed by the elite women. It was very exciting watching these amazing athletes cruising down the road in the final mile. I took pictures of the first several women as they came by and then we began the wait for the elite men. Hopefully, someday soon the American women will again fill the ranks of the top finishers.

Just after 2:00, the second cadre of vehicles, motorcycles and press trucks came into view, followed by the first runner. I could tell immediately that it wasn't Meb (dang). We quickly looked up the number to find the name "Cheruiyot" (a previous winner). The guy was really cruising. Of course it turns out that he set a new course record (by one second). It wasn't too long before number two came along. Again, no Meb, and we watched Maiyo fly by. There was a bit of a gap then before number three showed up. Meb! So the top American would take 3rd place. Still an impressive performance as there again was a gap before the next runner. What followed though was simply amazing.

As they passed us, Culpepper and Sell were in 4th and 5th (Sell would pass Culpepper before the finish). That's 3 Americans in the top 5! Then Gilmore takes 7th and Verran takes 10th, 5 Americans in the top 10!! Then Humphrey in 11th, Johnson in 15th, Lundstrom in 16th, O'Brien in 18th, Briney in 19th and Stevens in 20th; 11 Americans in the top 20!!! You could feel the electricity on the street as people were realizing what was happening. We were witness to a rebirth of American distance running.

Now the runners began coming more quickly. As the steady stream of runners swelled, so did the spectators along the course. The Red Sox had just put away the Mariners and hordes of people were swarming the sidewalks, squeezing in to get a view of the runners. The next couple hours were a blast, cheering for the runners, encouraging runners who looked like they were about to pass out, sending uplifting words to a few runners who were obviously seriously cramping (I know that pain), and of course calling out the names of runners who had them printed on their singlets, shirts, arms, etc.

Perhaps the biggest cheers went out to the Hoyt's. If you don't know their story, you should read it here. This was their 25th Boston marathon. What an inspiration.

And then in the midst of these runners came ... the "Man in a Pink Tutu". I hate those guys. As you may or may not recall, in the Arizona marathon I was passed by a "Man in a Pink Tutu" just before the finish. I'm guessing Elizabeth shares my disdain for these runners, as she was also passed by him not far from the finish. Unfortunately, I missed getting a picture of Elizabeth (now I still owe her one since she got a great picture of me in the AZ marathon). And I was all set up for a great shot, with the CITGO sign in the background. Speedy girl zipped right past me. And she did great!

After another hour or so, we began to tire of all the yelling and screaming and headed back to the T. The subway ride back was excruciatingly slow! It took us about an hour to get back to Harvard Square. People on the train were nice enough to give up their seats for any runners who got on (but apparently Elizabeth had no such luck). From there we walked home where we checked all the results from the BAA marathon website.

Lowlight from the sidelines: the smoker who looked like he was intentionally blowing smoke out onto the race course. Seriously, there's a special place in hell waiting for you.

Highlight from the sidelines: my wife, Anita, explaining things about the race and the runners to a couple of kids standing next to us. They were really eating it up (and getting excited about running, I hope). Future runners.

Do I get excited about this stuff? Does the pope wear a hat?

My dream of running Boston just burns in my mind. I will get there.


p.s. Tuesday was an easy 6 miles with 6 X 100m strideouts. It felt great.


Blogger E-Speed said...

Wow how cool Kurt! I can't imagine being a spectator for this one. It just sounds so amazing!!!

Thanks for the support!!!

4/20/2006 2:37 PM  

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