Posted by: chiarraigrrl | April 17, 2012

Marathon Monday in Boston…

As many of you will know, Monday was Patriots’ Day here in Massachusetts- and a little run they call the Boston Marathon. Inspired by a must-read post about spectating at races on my friend Beth’s fabulous fitness blog, I decided a few weeks ago that I’d head in and lend my support- and because it was my first Boston marathon living in the Boston area, I decided to treat it as a special day and take the ferry (I love the water, and am a member of the Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands, after all- any excuse to spend time on the water is a Good Thing in my book) across the harbor rather than taking the T.

Boston Harbor Express
The ferry was awesome, as expected- in Quincy it departs from the Fore River Shipyard, right next to the U.S.S. Salem and Naval Shipbuilding Museum, and passes under the Fore River Bridge- pretty impressive for a departure area. It positively zips across the water, food and beverages are available onboard and it passes fairly close to some of the islands, including the beautiful Spectacle Island. After a stop at Logan Airport, I disembarked at Long Wharf and was delighted to discover that it was actually across the street from the back of Faneuil Hall and Quincy Marketplace! Pop across the street and up the stairs by City Hall, and within a short time I was on board a Green line trolley headed for Brookline, with a seat and all- which is more than I could say for a lot of people who got on at later stops, especially thanks to the Red Sox game also on that day (apparently that happens every year). I was delighted to see spectators striking up conversations with complete strangers, comparing notes on where they were planning to get off the T and what were the best spots to catch the race- I quickly realized it was pretty easy to spot other marathon spectators on their way out to the course.

Fast Girls have the Best Times at Boston Marathon 2012
Spectators in Coolidge Corner in Brookline- including my favorite t-shirts, “Fast Girls Have the Best Times”. Classic
I had done my research ahead of time, and was headed for Coolidge Corner in Brookline armed with suntan lotion (to reapply, having loaded up before I left home- I sunburn *very* easily), water, an apple (the juiciest snack food available- it was due to be *very* hot, and ended up breaking records), my map, and had broken in brand-new sandals over the weekend. Coolidge Corner turned out to be an inspired idea for a location to watch from- there was a band playing on the sidewalk, and the local Rotary Club was selling hot dogs and hamburgers nearby.

Band on the sidewalk in Brookline on Marathon Monday
The band played on Beacon Street in Brookline

I hung out near enough to listen to the music from the band, and was delighted to see that the crowd cheered equally loudly for every wheelchair participant that went by…
Cheering wheelchair participants in the Boston Marathon

Lots of people had homemade signs (I’m definitely doing that next year), and one of my favorite moments was when I noticed a couple of kids across the road talking to a Boston cop doing crowd control:
Children with homemade signs chatting to Boston Police

The wheelchair section passed quickly, between cheering for participants and chatting to other spectators, and soon the pace car was nearly upon us…
Pace truck at Boston Marathon 2012

Lead runners in the Boston Marathon 2012 in Brookline

Boston Marathon 2012 on Beacon in Brookline
The lead runners didn’t even seem to be breaking a sweat

After a while the course started to get more crowded…
The course started to get a little more crowded

And it wasn’t long before it really started to look packed out there…
And then it started to get a bit packed on the course at the Boston Marathon 2012

I made a point of clapping for everyone, and occasionally cheering- but I was especially glad when I thought I saw Claire from “Will Run for Beer” (not quick enough with the camera for photographic proof, unfortunately), and Lucas Carr and Matt Brown, verifiable by Carr’s Bruins t-shirt and black armband. This time I was still slow with the camera, but it does look like they’re making time for the finish line, which is nice (they’re on the right side of this photo)
Pretty sure the tail end of the Lucas Carr Matt Brown team extraordinaire can be seen on the course in this one

My other favorite moment during the race was one of spectators lending a helping hand. Brookline Health Center had set up a small water station of their own with bottled water to give out to the marathoners. One woman who was standing next to me decided to help, and got a few water bottles to give out to runners (or walkers, as many smart participants were taking it easy to beat the heat). Well, a couple of little kids nearby wanted to help out too once they figured out what she was up to…
Little kids giving out bottles of water to marathon runners at the Boston Marathon 2012

It may have taken ages to get back into town (you know the T is packed when the conductor is riffing on the Dial ad- “aren’t you glad you used Dial? Don’t you wish everyone did?”- but everyone was pleasant enough and surprisingly good-humored about it) and I missed the ferry I was hoping for, but as I was headed back across the harbor I was already looking forward to next year. Good times (heh)…



  1. Nice post, alot better to read on the computer than phone.

    I viewed it twice, read it once.

    • Glad you liked it! 🙂 Thanks for trying again…

  2. […] not that I’ve tried. But after attending the Boston Marathon as a spectator last week, I realized that there are a few things you can do as a spectator that tend to be frowned upon in […]

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