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BAA announcement

The BAA held the first of three “Runners Clinics” Monday night in Boston.

boston marathon,security
Boston Marathon 2014

This was the first time I’ve attended a BAA clinic. Getting into and navigating Boston is too much of a hassle. With my knee injury I hoped to get some expert advice. In the back of my mind I’m still thinking bad things.

As I stepped onto Boylston Street the icy cold wind hit me in the face. I pulled the stylish hood on my parka over my head and closed it around my neck. My frozen hands fumbled for directions on my phone.

On a side street I found the hotel and went in. A set of stairs curved to the second floor lobby area outside of the meeting room. PowerBar, Gatorade, Poland Spring and Stoneyfield Yogurt had free stuff. Not samples, full sized bottles, bars and cups. If I had a bag I could have loaded up.

I went in and took my seat amongst about 100 other Boston Marathon runners. The room eventually held 150 or so runners. The theme of the evening was “Flexibility”.

The BAA’s big announcement

BAA Executive Director, Thomas Grilk made the introductory presentation. He said that while the BAA and The Marathon appreciates and will pay respect to the suffering from last year’s events, the 2014 Boston Marathon will be about the 2014 Boston Marathon. This will not be a memorial. Please don’t send Tom nasty grams if you disagree. I am not quoting him exactly here, but this is basically what he said.

The big announcement from him was that the BAA will NOT be transporting runner’s bags back to Boston. All bags will be collected on the Boston Common and will be retrieved on The Common. There was no reaction from the room. I was a little shocked and instantly started running scenarios and solving problems. No one said a word.

Running kit, running shoes
Packed fours times, probably one more will do!

I thought that the BAA would give us clear bags and maybe make them smaller. I think Hartford gave out clear bags this year. For a runner, the logistics of sitting in Hopkinton for hours without all of my pre-race stuff is challenging.

I’ll bring a throw away shirt and wear a trash bag, but I wont be wearing a nice running jacket. What if it rains and I want to change into my race shoes and socks at the last minute?


It turned out that 75% of the people in the room had never run Boston before and 25% had never run a marathon. Newbies, as they were referred to several times. I don’t think these people grasped what a logistical hassle the BAA had just handed them.

A marathon is a major logistical operation for organizers and runners. I often refer to marathons as the Normandy Invasion. It takes a lot of planning and flexibility and a lot can go “not according to plan”. You need that bag full of stuff in order to be prepared for the unexpected.

Am I the only one who thinks this is a major issue? How will you manage your race day logistics in Boston?

The Training Clinic

After Tom’s presentation they played a short video of the 2013 lead pack. I thought the audio had to many sounds that sounded like a blast or explosion. It was meant to be dramatic but each crescendo shot right through me.

I was anticipating the worse. I sat there with clenched jaw and a tear in my eye hoping they would end the video with the lead pack crossing the line when all was still well in our world. Mercifully, they did.

They discussed being flexible with your schedule. It’s inevitable that you are going to get sick, possibly sustain an injury. Then there is life in general that always gets in the way of a great training plan. They basically said roll with it. It happens to everyone, it’s no big deal.

In the case of illness or injury they said you may have to adjust your goal. That spoke directly to my situation. I’m just hoping to get to the starting line and somehow make it to Boylston Street. A Boston PR is not likely at this point.

Then they discussed physical flexibility and demonstrated simple stretches that will hit most runners problem spots. I found this information to be very helpful.

I’m still coming to terms with the BAA announcement. They must have been shocked that there was no uproar from the crowd. I think we were either stunned or did not realize how this was going to impact us on race day.

What do you think of their announcement?

Run well my friends!

Andy, pub-4167727599129474, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0