Boston Marathon 2018 Race Weekend
As a GBA local I got to have an entire Boston Marathon weekend experience. On Friday afternoon I got to go to the Boston Marathon Expo and be among the first few thousand people to walk the floor. The vendors were generous with samples and the crowd was just trickling in.
I picked up my race packet and shirt and walked the Expo floor. One of the first vendors I saw was “KT Tape.” There was a small line of people and someone was sitting in the booth talking to people. I thought I recognized the guy.
As I looked a second time I saw that he was signing autographs and that it was Meb Keflezighi! He won Boston in 2014, the year after the bombing. He became an instant American hero!
I almost kept walking, but I noticed that the line wasn’t long. It was cool standing in line and watching Meb talk to everyone. He was patient and seemed genuine as he spoke with each person.
Everyone was excited to meet him and had a story to tell. I felt star-struck. When it was my turn to sit with him I tried to explain that I ran in 2014 when he won. When I crossed the finish line they said an American had won, but I didn’t find out who for almost an hour.
I asked if he would sign my Marathon bib, and he wrote a nice note. I was so happy to meet my marathon idol!
On Saturday I ran the BAA 5K. Nineteen people from my running club also ran. My buddy Derm Cahill dropped his car at my house and we parked at my office in Cambridge. It’s a quick walk across The Longfellow bridge to The Boston Common and Charles Street.
There wasn’t a whole lot to do before the race so we picked up our shirts, went to the bag drop and then to the porta-potty line.
The lines weren’t too bad and moved along quickly. It was a beautiful spring day in Boston and everyone was in a good mood. As we headed to the start area we ran into fellow Melrose Running Club member Regina Curran. She was in line so we spoke briefly and headed towards the start area.
Derm is recovering from a really messed up shoulder injury from last fall! He though he just broke ribs but recently had to get treatment for his shoulder. I had the Marathon on Monday, so neither of us were looking to PR.
As we walked up the sidewalk to a slower corral we kept seeing people moving forward. Many of them did not look like 6:00 pace 5K runners, but that’s where they were heading. We didn’t wait too long before they played The National Anthem and we all stood silently. There were plenty of American flags to look at.
We were in the 9:00 pace group and planned to take it easy. The first group took off and our group began to move up. Instead of stopping us at the line, we just crossed the start as we got there.
The start was still crowded but so much better than starting in Copley Square. There were still people walking three and four abreast. The same people we saw walking forward to the faster corrals. I tried not to get pissed, but I did say a few things mostly under my breath.
We ran out Comm Ave to Charles Gate West and turned around. One of the coolest parts of this race is that we got to take a right onto Hereford and a left onto Boylston Street. As we ran towards the Boston Marathon finish line I could feel my excitement building!
There were very few people around but it was still cool to cross the freshly painted finish line.
As much as we tried to hold back, we failed. Mile one came in at 8:56 which was mostly due to the crowding. Mile two came in at 8:22 and mile three came in at 8:00. Our race average pace was 8:26. Nothing crazy but still faster than we needed to run. The BAA timed us at 8:35 pace and 26:37 total time. Pretty close.
After we got our medals and walked along we found another MRC runner, Michele DiAngelo. We missed just about everyone else.
As we were heading out we met the Tysall family. Charlotte Tysall ran a 20:28 race and she is only 14! She was disappointed not to break the 20 minute barrier. I’m sure she will soon.
Boston Marathon Expo Volunteering
The Melrose Running Club had about twenty people volunteer at The Expo. Most of us did number packet or shirt distribution. Mike Quigley and I volunteered to give directions and information.
We stood a few feet away from the shirt distribution tables, the last required stop before runners headed for The Expo. Since I had walked The Expo on Friday, I was somewhat familiar with the vendors. The also gave us a map and directory.
I think I only sent a few people across the hall to the wrong place. I felt bad but I was a volunteer with a crash course where everything was. Sorry folks!
It was a lot of fun talking to people from all over the world. Some people just needed directions but a few people were asking for running advice.
One guy from California was really concerned with what to wear. I must have talked to him and his wife for ten minutes. Lots of people were looking for any vendor who still had gloves, sleeves or anything water proof.
As I took a walk around the Expo floor to stretch my legs I checked in with a few vendors. The guys at Brooks said they brought everything they had, but the winter season is over so they didn’t have much to sell. Everyone else was sold out also. I found one booth selling headbands. That was it.
The lady who was managing our group of volunteers told us to grab a drop bag. She said that near the end of the Expo many vendors will be looking to get rid of any food items they had left over. She wasn’t kidding.
The Expo ended at 6 PM, but by 4 PM the crowd hid thinned considerably. So around 5 PM I took a walk about. It was like Halloween for a runner. Almost all of the vendors were opening cases and putting out bottles and bars and other samples for us to take. One vendor saw my volunteer credentials and gave me a box of breakfast bars.
Before we left we had to check out and receive our volunteer pin. It was a nice silver BAA logo pin. I had so much stuff to carry that I almost forgot my jacket! They gave us volunteer jackets so a jacket really wasn’t on my mind.
A fellow “information desk” volunteer Wey gave me a ride back to Cambridge to pick up my car. That was awesome as I wasn’t looking forward to the T ride back to Cambridge. He was driving one of the new Teslas. It’s weird not hearing an engine start or run.
A great Boston Marathon 2018 weekend Experience
I had a great time helping out at the Expo, like I always do. If felt great to help runners who were probably a little nervous. To talk to a local person who’s run the race seven times probably helped ease their nerves. I know it would make me feel better to talk to someone who knew a little bit about the race and how things worked.
I also had a great time running the BAA 5K with Derm and running into some of our friends.
With those great experiences I was feeling great and looking forward to Monday. We started following the weather over a week before the race. It didn’t start well and it kept getting worse!
Friday at work we were seeing a 100% chance of rain. Possible gusts up to 40 mph and on-shore winds. On-shore winds come off of The Atlantic and are colder than off-shore winds.
I kept checking the weather on Saturday. It said temperatures would be in the 40’s and maybe 50’s. But the rain was still coming and the on-shore winds were still predicted to gust up to 30-40 mph.
Of course, the weather started getting worse Sunday night.
Check back for my 2018 Boston Marathon recap hopefully tomorrow.
Run well my Friends!