Sketches from a hill in Newton
We arrived in Newton around 9:30AM. Our little caravan found parking near the Marathon route easily and hauled our gear and supplies to the Marathon course.
On the drive over it rained for 20 minutes or so and we were a little concerned. By the time we arrived in Newton the rain had stopped and it was in the 40’s and overcast. Pretty good conditions to run a marathon.
We knew we were near mile 20, but not exactly sure how close. I decided to do a recon and jog down the road until I found the 20 mile clock.
When I found the Mile 20 clock I started my Garmin. I ducked under the rope and jogged back up Heart Break hill to where the Melrose Running Club was encamped. As I ran the wind began to blow, and it was strong.
The forecast said rain and winds up to 35mph. This was a head wind and it felt about 25mph or more. I was glad I only had to run 0.26 miles back to our club hang out.
At mile 20.26 we were in the heart of Heart Break Hill. This is the hill where runners dig deep just to keep going. It’s not that it’s a steep hill, it’s that it comes so late in the race.
This is looking down Heart Break Hill at about 20.5 miles. It’s a long climb and there is a series of smaller hills that precede it. The little hills chew you up before you hit mile 20, where many runners hit “The Wall.”
This is looking up “Heart Break” hill from the same spot. A long difficult slog.
At the top of the hill the Boston College campus begins. From BC on, it’s pretty much down hill to the finish.
There are small hills or “rise in the road”, and they become challenging to many runners after running the gauntlet in Newton.
It doesn’t take much to make tired legs want to walk at this point in the race.
Here are a few Boston Marathon photos
My apologies if I got any of the names wrong. I couldn’t find # 25010 in the BAA listing and it was difficult to see the wheelchair competitors numbers.
I stayed to see several of my friends come by. It had been raining for most of the morning and my clothes were soaked through. I ducked under a friends umbrella, sat in another friends car for 15 minutes and grabbed a trashed poncho from another friend to wrap around me. I had shivered for hours.
I watched one runner chase down a plastic bag as it blew along the course. He picked it up and wrapped it around his hands and kept running. Runners were wearing Mylar blankets and trash bags. It was a raw day for a marathon.
My ride was leaving around 2:30 and I decided to go with them. I had no idea when the rest of my friends would come by and I was chilled to the core.
A New Appreciation
When you run a race you can’t possibly thank everyone or accept their generosity. I always wish I could thank everyone and give them a big hug. I know they’re not there just for me. But for just a moment, many of them gave me something.
It may have been a whoop, pretzel or a yell of my name. Each of those moments gave me a lift. Many of these moments went unacknowledged as I was deep in my struggle.
Standing in the cold today I had a fresh and renewed appreciation for what all of those people did for me, for us. It’s not always comfortable to stand for long hours at a race. There are always other things to do on race day. No one needs to bring food and drink for runners.
Yet they do.
As a runner, let me thank all of you who have ever stood in the cold or heat and cheered on the runners. Let me thank all of you who have offered food or drink to strangers running along the way.
Thank you so much.