I originally wrote this post on May 21st, 2014. It’s a bit of Boston Marathon history and a peek into the way things used to be. Here it is with a few edits, Enjoy!
Kerri Haskins of the Mystic Runners posted this Boston Marathon 1964 film on Facebook in May of 2014.
It’s a 26 minute documentary film produced by Robert Gardner and Joyce Chopra of the Film Study Center at Harvard University. It’s an amazing look at Boston in 1964 and how things were back then.
As I watched the film I could recognize buildings, intersections and the road. I also recognized the running spirit that lives in us today. These 400 runners are just like we are. Many of their comments and conversations are ones I have had or heard.
These 400 souls ran without high tech fabrics and shoes with a million dollars in research behind them. No gels or fancy beverages. No well researched training plans, trainers or coaches for the most part. It was just running in it’s purest un-adulterated form.
You will see crowds along the way, and the kids. No one was handing out bananas or orange slices. No high fives, and maybe they missed them but no girls at Wellesley.
It was a different age. I was born in 1964 and some of the cars in this film are distant memories for me. Boston was a different town back then. More industrial and less high tech, no such thing as VC and start ups run by 20-year olds. You won’t see a cell phone or tablet. I didn’t even see a walki-talki.
This piece was written by David Borden and is on the YouTube page
Published on Jan 26, 2014
When Erich Segal died in April of 2010, I remembered a short film for which I had supplied the music. In 1965, as a graduate student at Harvard, I was the only composer in Leon Kirchner’s seminar who was interested in composing music for film. While putting the finishing touches to the score for FLATLAND, supervised by animator John Hubley, the inventor of Mr. Magoo, Bob Gardner, the Director of the Film Study Center at Harvard popped his head into the studio and asked if I could supply a short film score for his current documentary, MARATHON. I said sure. Since two of the performers I had for FLATLAND were excellent jazz musicians I decided to do a quick improvisatory soundtrack. Guitarist Stanley Silverman could play anything and percussionist Fred Buda was one of the best jazz drummers I ever heard. All that remained was for me to call my old friend bassist John Neves to complete the group while I played piano. I watched the rushes and made some notes for a head arrangement. We had the track recorded in less than an hour. Soon the film was broadcast on WGBH, Boston’s groundbreaking PBS TV Station. Then it disappeared until recently.
Robert Gardner, now in his eighties, has collected numerous awards as an anthropologist and filmmaker. He is currently engaged with a number of film, video and book projects with Studio 7 Arts, his company in Cambridge MA. His most memorable films include Dead Birds (1964), Rivers of Sand (1975), and Forest of Bliss (1986). The assistant director, Joyce Chopra went on to direct many films for general release and for TV. Her films include Smooth Talk (1985), The Last Cowboy [TV 2003] and Fire in Our Hearts (2012). Erich Segal went on to write Love Story, the screenplay for Yellow Submarine, as well as influential texts in classics, his chosen field. He was a professor at Yale and a visiting professor at several universities including Princeton and Oxford. He died of a heart attack following many years of suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Walter Hewlett, also a runner in this marathon, was an undergraduate at Harvard in 1964. A man of many noteworthy accomplishments, he has been chairman of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation since 1994. D. A. Pennebaker, also in his eighties, is the legendary cinematographer/documentarian of such films as Don’t Look Back (1967), Monterey Pop (1968) and The War Room (1993). Marathon and Don’t Look Back were completed in the same year (1965). -David Borden, Ithaca, NY July, 2010
2020 was a challenging year for everyone. As if COVID-19 wasn’t enough, my mother died. So I’m really looking forward to 2021!
It’s hard to believe it’s already December.
It seems like it’s still March 50th, and now that it’s cold again it feels like summer never happened.
I start every year optimistically with the goal of running 1,000 miles. The closest I got was 977.82 miles in 2014.
In 2015 I “only” ran 562.91 miles. After running three marathons, three halfs, The Eastern States 20 miler and many 5Ks and 10Ks in 2014, I think I was a little burned out in 2015.
But each year since 2015 I have steadily built up my annual miles.
In 2019 I ran 929.6 miles and thought I was on track to hit 1,000 miles in 2020. Just a little more effort each month would get me there.
So far, for 2020, I’ve only reached 671.83 miles.
Running 2020 YTD
2020 got off to a good start with 69.51 miles and 86.08 miles in January and February respectively.
Those are the coldest months to run so I felt I was off to a good start.
This our running club at the last in person race I ran, The Super Sunday 5 Miler.
Ah the goo ole days. No masks and everyone was huddled up to keep warm.
At the beginning of March I was optimistic that improving weather would lead to increasing mileage. Then things went off the rails.
My mother went into the hospital just as the COVID-19 lock downs began. If she had been sick a week later none of us would have been able to visit her in the hospital.
So that really sucked but at least we could be there for her.
She recovered enough to be discharged to a rehab facility and we were into a new normal with her.
With the new rules on social distancing, our club had to cancel our Sunday Long Runs and Tuesday Night Club Runs. And I didn’t run a single race in March, everything was cancelled.
I still managed to run 83.58 miles. With all the shit I had going on, I’ll call that a solid month.
Spring Running 2020
In April, without any club runs, I was on my own.
To get my butt in gear I started doing short runs from my house several times a week. Running from my house was easy and there were no excuses not to do so a few times a week.
On April 19th I ran my first virtual race, The MRC Virtually Insane Half. The race was organized by the Melrose Running Club and a lot of us signed up.
It was my first attempt at a virtual race and I hadn’t figured out a good half marathon course yet. I ended up running 14.52 miles.
While I didn’t even run 60 miles in April, I felt like I was settling into the new normal. I managed 10 runs including the 14.52 mile half and a 10.7 mile long run.
In May I only ran eight times. Most runs were under five miles and one was 11.75 miles. I also ran my second virtual race, The Cinco de Mayo QuaranTeam 5K. With just eight runs I only managed 41.15 miles. 10 miles per week! Yikes!
This was about the time I started picking up my daughter after she got out of work around 8:30. I also started calling my mother every night after supper. With three siblings I had to pick my time to call and stick with it.
After my mother got out of the hospital and went to a long-term care facility we were hopeful that she could go back to assisted living, but that didn’t happen.
She became a long-term resident at what we colloquially refer to as a nursing home.
Between eating supper, waiting for my time slot to call my mother and then picking up my daughter, I didn’t have an hour to go run and get cleaned up most nights.
And with my mother’s turn I wasn’t exactly filled with enthusiasm for anything.
Summer Run Time
In June the weather began to improve, the days were getting longer and I was adjusting to my own “new normal”.
I ran eleven times including two virtual races. The Stepping Stones For Stella Virtual 10K and the Great Bay Half 2020 Virtual on June 27th.
Total miles for June were 61.83. Not great but 50% better than May. On top of that my second virtual half marathon came in at 13.12 miles.
I felt pretty good about my ability to run this distance accurately and was enthusiastic about running more halfs.
In July it began to get hot and sticky like it always does in Boston.
I was doing more yard work and this often lead to aches and pains that kept me from running the next day.
Old enough to know better, dumb enough to still over due it!
I only managed eight runs, but two of them were virtual half marathons. I was getting the hang of running from home on courses I made up as I went.
This half was a really hot run into Kendal Square in Cambridge. I had never run this entire route before but I know the area fairly well.
Of course, things look different from the car. I had to stop at many intersections and go up about 30 steps to get over The McGrath Highway.
I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to turn around which was near the Starbucks on Main Street. That’s at mile six on the map. I just had to stop in for an iced coffee.
I’ve never been so happy to have my cell phone and the Starbucks app locked and loaded.
Kendal Square was a ghost town even for a Saturday afternoon.
On July 17th I ran The Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler. This is a Gloucester race which is too far for me to get to after work, so I’ve never run it.
It’s not quite the same thing, but running virtual I was finally able to participate.
I managed a 9:13 pace and 434 ft of elevation climb. Going out I knew my selected course was hilly but I’ve run marathons with less elevation!
Then on July 21st we had our first Tuesday night club run! We had to check with the Public Health Departments in Melrose and each surrounding town for their particular rules.
We wanted to run together but be safe and respectful of the rules that each town established.
We also tried to avoid as much of the al fresco street-side dinning in Melrose as we could. Who wants a sweaty runner breathing on their calamari?
I only ran 3.22 miles that night, but it felt great to see some fellow club members.
On July 25th I ran the Virtual Juneau Half Marathon. It was one of the Melrose Running Club’s Racing Series events. A few of us signed up for $20! And they sent us a shirt and a nice medal!
On some previous runs I discovered a rail trail that went from Everett through Malden to Saugus and ended in Lynn.
It took some effort to find the trail headed north from where I previously saw it in Malden, but I ended up finding it as I was looking for it.
A new course that I wasn’t sure about and I ended up running 14.01 miles. No biggie.
Something must have been going on with Garmin that day. Garmin had me gaining and loosing 141 feet in the first mile which began in front of my house. That first mile is pancake flat.
Every mile had me gain and loose 90 to 259 feet. No flippin way! Most of the run was on an old rail road bed. They don’t do hills.
I wish it were true, my total elevation gain for this run was 2,339 feet. Almost a half mile of elevation! That’s serious hill climbing!
I reality I probably gained 50 feet total and I was happy to find another nice course to run.
I ran another Tuesday night club run and the Cambridge Summer Classic 5K, Medford style to finish the month.
The Summer Classic was another home run on flat streets so I decided to push it and averaged 8:09 miles. I hadn’t run that pace since April.
That felt pretty good also. July totaled 57.46 miles.
Running 2020 Goals
With the year more than halfway over and pathetic miles in July, I began to see my 1,000 mile goal slipping away.
If you fall behind in January, you have eleven months to make up the short fall.
When you are more than 300 miles behind at the end of July, things begin to look stark. I’d have to run around 150 miles each month for the rest of the year, and I still hadn’t reached 100 miles in a single month.
So 1,000 miles wasn’t going to happen.
I know that 1,000 miles is a stretch goal and I’m not getting any younger. On top of that I had some unique family obligations requiring my prime running hours.
August was another tough month. I only ran 39.58 miles.
I managed nine runs, five of them under five miles.
On August 1st I started with a 2.86 mile run that I managed to squeeze in before super. I thought I was off to a good start but I didn’t run again until the next week!
But I got to two more Tuesday Night Club Runs and ran the Black Excellence Virtual 5K on August 22nd.
August was just a matter of time slipping away from me. I had things to do around the house, family obligations and working over time.
I’d sit down in the morning and look up in time for dinner. Some days I even forgot to have lunch!
September started out well with a Tuesday Night Club Run on September 1st. What a great way to start the month!
I got in a short home run and ran the TNCR the next week. These weren’t long runs but I was building some momentum.
They had water stops and a nice flat course mapped out. It was great to run with a small group of people.
We all wore masks and tried to keep our distance. I ran 16.05 miles which was a few more than I should have. It was still fun!
The next day one of our runners told us that their spouse had tested positive for COVID! She went for a test and it came back negative.
My company was trying one day a week in the office, which we thought was one step towards normal.
The day I went into the office I got a message that my friend’s test had been mis-read and she was actually positive!
I sent a text to my manager and before I could stand up he had opened his office door and was pointing towards the door.
I collected my things and was out of there in minutes. That was the last time I’ve been into the office.
I went to a drive in test site that my healthcare provider had in Boston. It was on the top floor of their parking garage.
They checked me in and told me where to park. And within five minutes I was getting a deep brain probe just like you see on TV.
The Governor described it like they were tickling the bottom of his foot. And the look on his face as he said that made me a little squeamish as the nurse un-sheathed the swab to stick up my nose.
It ended up not being that bad and kind of made me feel like I needed to sneeze. And sneezing is the last thing you want to do at a COVID test site!
That was Friday and Saturday afternoon the owner of my company called to see how I was doing and if I had my results yet.
I told her I wouldn’t get them until Monday. She didn’t say it but she needed to know my results before she could decide what to do about Monday.
I felt bad that it would take so long but this was when the testing companies were getting buried. There wasn’t a thing I could do to speed things up.
From the tone of her voice I could tell she was genuinely concerned. But the call was as much about business as it was about me.
She told me about an urgent care office in Cambridge that did the rapid test with results in an hour.
Sunday morning I went and got the rapid test and thankfully it came back negative.
It made me think how much one person can effect other people’s lives.
A few more September Races
In September I also ran the Rett’s Roost 10K, Cambridge Fall Classic 5K and The Wicked Half Marathon.
The Wicked Half was pretty hilly, 488 feet elevation gain.
I ran the Fellsway Hills into Melrose and wrapped around Spot Pond.
This was a new half marathon course for me and after I turned around I realized I was too close to home to get in a full half.
So I started literally going up side streets to add some distance.
Some of the side roads off of the Fellsway have some wicked hills. I think I found them all.
This run kind of knocked the snot out of me and I averaged 9:47 per mile. While a lot of the course is relatively flat, where there was hill, there was hill!
I bought the mask I’m wearing in this photo at a running shop. It turned out to be the worse mask type I’ve run with.
I finished off the month with a 4 mile home run on the 29th.
For September I ran 13 runs for 67.50 miles. This wasn’t going to get me to 1,000 miles but it was better than August.
October was a month that changed my life forever.
On the first I got a call from my sister in Maine.
My mother had been experiencing declining health all summer but seemed to rally now and then.
The nursing home had called to say that she was declining quickly and they had started palliative care.
We were lucky in that they never asked what state I lived in. Maine was in lock down like the rest of the country. Nursing homes had even tighter requirements. If they knew that I was from out of state, I’m not sure they would have let me in.
They had us wear gowns and protective eye wear even though I have glasses.
The first day my brother and I spent the whole day with mom. She got out of bed for a while and spoke with us.
She didn’t eat a thing but she drank two cups of ice water. We had hoped that she would eat something but everyone was thrilled that she drank anything.
She grew tired after about an hour and the nurses got her back into bed. She talked a little more but was exhausted and went back to sleep.
The next day my younger sister arrived from Germany. She was lucky in that her region of Germany was a green zone at the time.
Mom never regained consciousness but the four of us were with her every day. We took shifts visiting and when all four of us were there, two had to sit out side of her window.
The window opened and we could talk, but no one could reach in and hold her hand.
Being a resourceful group, we realized that we could remove the screen! My sister was able to hold mom’s hand for a while which I’m sure made both of them happy.
The next day we got a call from the nursing home around 5AM that she was fading quickly.
We all quickly dressed and headed to the nursing home.
I’m not sure how they did it but they let all of us in to see her and moved her bed into their library.
We spent the whole day with her until she passed at 8:16 PM on October 7th.
All of those calls each night after dinner were worth it. At times I worried she thought I was calling every day because I was afraid that she’d die in the night.
We were so grateful to everyone at the nursing home. They went out of their way to accommodate us and give us time with our mother.
So many people die alone in ICU or in a nursing home because no one can come in to see them. That just has to suck for everyone.
On October 9th I went for a 4.76 mile run on the roads near my sister’s house. I’ve run there before and I really needed a run.
Nothing clears your head like a good run.
The next day I went out again for a 7.77 mile run.
The next weekend I ran Saturday and Sunday. 8.41 and 3.77 respectively.
I did my Tuesday night run from home as I wasn’t in the mood to be social.
I did another home run Wednesday night and that Friday I ran the Smuttynose Rockfest Half from home.
This was another run through The Fells and around Spot Pond. Instead of running up all of those steep side streets to get to 13.1 miles, I took some side streets in Medford.
My total elevation gain was 583 feet but I avoided steep hills so it seemed easier. My pace was 9:32 and my time was 2:05. With more hills than The Wicked Half I managed to cut three minutes off of my time.
A rounded the month off with another Tuesday Night Club Run and ran 48.95 miles for October.
I started November by running The Melrose Y’s Spooky Sprint. This is a Halloween run, but I didn’t get to it until Sunday the first.
That’s one of the problems with virtual races.
Since you don’t have to drive anywhere or make any plans it’s easy to forget about them.
Once I got a package in the mail and realized I had a 5K to run that weekend!
Some races were live events earlier in the year, were postponed and eventually went virtual.
Many races allowed you to run a race on a weekend, or gave you a week or month to run the race!
One race that I was sure I had registered for, I couldn’t find any of the usual email traffic for a registration.
It got confusing at times.
On the 5th I did a four mile home run and then on the 6th I ran the DAV 5K from home.
I had figured out some good half marathon courses and ran the 100% Pure Kona Coffee Half on November 8th, the Rock n Roll Half on November 14th and The Livestrong at The Y Half on November November 21st.
I ran the Livestrong Half during the Melrose Running Club’s No Contact Relay.
We started at sunrise and ran until sunset.
I ran three 4.76 mile laps for a total of 14.28 miles. When I got to the 13.1 mark my watch said 2:00:23. With more than 450 feet of elevation gain I finally got my half to the two-hour mark.
Unfortunately during the last two miles of that run my ankle started bothering me. Nothing new. Things often start or stop hurting during a run.
That afternoon I could barely walk up or down steps and the next day was worse.
It’s been over three weeks and I haven’t run since. My ankle is getting better but I may not run at all in December.
I don’t want to run on it too soon and aggravate my Achilles again and prolong the healing time. It’s taking long enough as it is!
Essentially my running year is over. If I’m careful and lucky I might run a neighborhood 5K before the end of the year, but I’m not counting on it.
2019 Race Directory Updates are on-going. Be sure to check back for updates and additions as the year goes on. Have a great 2019 running year and run well my Friends!
As we roll into 2019 I’ll be making Race Directory updates with new dates and hopefully a few new races.
The most popular race directory that I keep is the New England Marathons Fall. I started tracking these marathons in 2015 and last year the post just took off.
Now that winter is officially here I’ll be changing the name to New England Marathons Fall 2019 this week. Not to worry, I will keep the same URL for the blog post. If you have it book marked you won’t have to make any changes.
I’m glad that the Fall Marathons directory became popular and not the Summer Marathons post. Fall has enough marathons in New England to keep things interesting without it becoming a full time job for me.
5K Race Directory Updates
I will also continue to update the 5K race directories for local cities and towns. Just like for the marathon listings, I’ll keep the same URL and change the title only.
Unlike most directories published by the big web sites, I will not inundate you with ads and pop ups. I will mention the My First 5K medal on occasion. Many 5Ks only award the top three runners over all and often age-group winners.
Unlike the corporate web sites, I often speak with the race director. This lets me get dates listed quicker and get the latest updates.
Without all of the ads and clutter, it is much easier to find a race in your town on my directories. Here are two popular listings that I will be updating shortly:
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.