B&A: Marathon Monday

Contrary to common perceptions, I am not a runner. In middle school track, my favorite event was high jump. Sure, I get a rush after sprinting to catch the train, but I think that's the elation of bypassing a 15-minute wait.

I do, however, respect and admire runners. So when Ian reminded me the Boston Marathon is kind of a big deal, I was ready to spectate. Alas, extenuating circumstances (Watertown's non-observance of Patriot's Day resulting in no holiday for us, Ian's workload, my meager PTO stash) forced us to miss this year's race.

What we didn't miss is the before and after. Thanks to MBTA route changes, our commute took us directly through the final stretch.

We saw the calm before the storm — vendors setting up with healthy snacks for the spectators, empty streets waiting to receive 26,000 runners, serious fans sitting along the sidewalk at seven in the morning with blankets, chairs, coffee and encouraging signs.

run boston better/french fries
27070: we love julie

We traveled home through empty streets next to bar patios stuffed with people, trash scattered across the sidewalks like confetti, clusters of EMTs and police officers just waiting.

run boston 2010: it's about kevin
line of emts
2010 finish

Most interesting however, was how difficult it was to pick out runners from the crowd — their identities betrayed only by the flashes of yellow and blue ribbon around their necks. It struck me how universal running is. You don't need special talents or a particular body type, just time, hard work and will power. It makes the medal that much more impressive: the culmination of a single-minded pursuit of a passion.

So congratulations to you all, Boston Marathon runners, and we'll be there next year to cheer you on.

Click here for more photos.