BOSTON MARATHON RACE REPORT
Let’s put it out there right now. The Boston Marathon is one of the “must do” marathons, indeed it’s the hardest of the World Marathon Majors (WMM) to get into. We were lucky enough to run the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday 15th April, which is Patriots’ Day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Drew + Paul + Alison are onto our fourth WMM following Tokyo (2014), New York (2015) and Berlin (2018). We’re joined by Kristy who is a WMM veteran, with Boston to be her fifth event in the series.
Just to recap, there are six marathons in the WMM series, each called a star. When you complete all six you get a ‘Six Star’ medal and your life becomes complete! We are slowly but surely making our way through them
We arrive in Boston after 30+ hours travel and are greeted by signage on the baggage carousel, welcoming all the runners to Boston. Our preparation this year was on par with Berlin, a good training base but with that nagging feeling we should have done more! There had been a good number of runs over 30km and a solid mix of training efforts.
We arrive and settle into our hotel, the very nice Westin Copley. We grab a bite to eat and then hit the finish line area for a quick selfie.
Next morning it’s time for the expo. Those of you who have read previous reports will know that we have a bit of a thing for event merchandise, so operation #GETSOMEMERCH happens! Our credit cards are still recovering, their magnetic strips all worn from so much purchasing (side issue, when are the Americans going to get with the ‘tap and go’ credit card thing – who uses swipe and signature any more?!?!)
Better go for a run!
And it’s time to head off for a run to acclimatise ourselves to the local surrounds.
We’re in Boston with Travelling Fit, who we’ve all run with before. It’s a much smaller group in Boston with only 40 runners, compared to the 300+ that ran New York, a result of the limited places available for international travel firms. Great to get out and stretch the legs after the long plane trip over. The weather is cool and overcast, but happily not raining.
We have a bit of time so head out to check out some of the local sights, including a trip to the Harvard campus and a wander round the city admiring the architecture.
Boston Common, a park in the centre of the CBD
Our trip to Boston is about more than just the run, so we take in some of what the city has to offer. A trip to the baseball was great, we watched the Boston Red Sox vs the Baltimore Arioles at Fenway Park over a few beers and hot dogs under a perfect blue sky. Tough gig, huh?
A somewhat sombre note of remembrance. The 123rd Boston Marathon is run on Monday 15th April, six years to the day since the Boston Marathon bombings on 15th April 2013. We visit the sites of the two bombings, only metres from the finish line that we’re about to cross, where memorials are currently being constructed.
The term ‘Boston Strong’ was created as part of the reaction to the bombing and is emblazoned all over the city during marathon week. Marathon Daffodils are planted between the start at Hopkinton and adorn the streets of the CBD, a constant reminder of the terrible events of 2013.
Race day is here. It’s bucketing rain. The start line is closed due to lightning. The buses to the start must pull over on the freeway because the rain is too heavy. But the weather forecasters claim it will clear in time for the start!!!! How do you get 30,000+ runners from the Boston CBD to Hopkinton, the start line that’s 42.2km away? Simple, get a whole bunch of school buses and drop us at the local school until it’s start time.
We are Go!
The Boston Marathon is happening! The rain stops. The sun comes out. Now just to run 42.2km
How to best describe the Boston Marathon course? One that deserves respect.
It is a beautiful start. 10km of downhill running, with ideal marathon temperatures. We meander through small towns, the crowds cheering us through their streets. Some of us are thinking #BESTMARATHONEVER. From 10km onwards the course undulates through the countryside. It’s picturesque at times, punctuated by some pretty loud Americans shouting a range of comments including one “you’re nearly there!” at the 15km mark. Clearly, he missed the Marathon 101 training program.
The ‘Scream Tunnel’ at the 21km mark is a hoot, where all the young ladies attending Wellesley College come out onto the side of the course and scream a lot, holding placards that range from encouraging to propositioning! But as the course cracks the 30km we’re into new territory, the constantly rolling hills are taking their toll on our quads and the uphill sections become a challenge. Heartbreak Hill at 33km should be called Quadbreak Hill.
We all make it home … no PBs in sight, but this probably isn’t the course for it.
- Paul – landed a finish of 3:15:53 with a good pace for most of the run, until those hills at the 30km+ mark.
- Drew – came home in a 3:35:45 with a similar story to Paul, a good pace initially but the legs were burnt out by the time he hit Heartbreak Hill!
- Alison – made it across the line with a 4:08:52, good effort Al especially battling some inclement weather later in the race.
- Kristy – smashed it with a 3:13:11, damn fine work! Those splits are a work of art, with a strong finish over the last 10km.
We are done, another WMM in the bag
We’re all happy to have Boston under the belt, so it’s time to think about what’s next on our WWM journey! London in April 2020 looks to be a certainty, which will be Kristy’s sixth and final. Paul, Drew and Alison also need to complete Chicago, timing still TBC on that one. By the way, if any of you bump into our husband/wife/partner please tell them it’s important we do Chicago soon, even if only so you get to read another excellent race report
One final comment, a huge congrats to Mari-Mar from Travelling Fit who claimed her six star medal at Boston. Well done!!!