To be very clear, I did NOT run the Boston Marathon this year (maybe one day) but this year I got to tag along a spectate for my speedy hubby Cory who did run.
Going to Boston for the marathon was pretty amazing start to finish. On the plane it was pretty surreal to have so many athletes on one flight. At least half the people were wearing Boston Marathon jackets from years past the other half seemed to be wearing other marathon gear or ironman backpacks.
Just being in the city was also incredible, athletes everywhere! The locals were all so nice and encouraging. Everyone would wish athletes luck and seemed genuinely happy to have you in their city.
If you can ever go to run or even just to spectate I say do it, it was an incredible experience. I will write another post with tourist information I learned while there, but for now I will focus on the race and activities.
Pre Race Information: Boston Marathon had the best organization I have ever seen for a race. They sent great information well in advance and provided many maps and information. I felt like we always had everything we needed and Cory was clear on where he needed to be when and with what.
Expo: The race expo for the Boston Marathon is like nothing I have seen before, it was HUGE. While it took a little while to get in, the wait wasn’t long and there was bag check security. While it did cause some backups I did appreciate the level of security and that they seemed to really be concerned about everyones safety.
For being as large and busy as the expo was, I feel that it was organized well. Staff, security and volunteers were all friendly and happy to help. We were directed in to packet pick-up, got Cory’s bib, shirt and goody bag.
All the gear was pretty nice. Next we headed into the expo and made it into the official Boston Marathon gear area. There was so much stuff to pick from, it reminded me a lot of Ironman gear. The “must have” piece is always the official jacket that changes colors every year. It was pretty neat seeing runners wearing jackets from past years, I think the oldest one I saw was 1995. Cory didn’t love the jacket but my mom and I decided he needed to have it so we bought it for him anyway 😉
Races – On Saturday there was two races being put on by BAA both finishing at the marathon finish line. An open 5k, that I so wish I had known about ahead of time. It would have been so fun to race even a 5k there with mom and dad! There was also a mile invitational. We watched a few waves go off, so fun to watch such speedy racers!
Pasta Dinner – The night before the marathon there is a hosted pasta dinner. I can’t comment on it since Cory decided he didn’t want to go. I can’t blame him, every other race meal we have gone to the food has been bland and not terribly appealing. But I do wonder if we missed out on hearing some cool information. Let me know if you have gone, was it worth it?
Race Day – For racers, be sure to bring throw away warm ups! You have a checked bag but you leave that in Boston Commons and have HOURS before you start running. So bring something to keep you warm at the start that you don’t mind not getting back. Also if you can carrying your cell phone is nice if you have family or friends with you. It’s a huge race and it was so helpful that Cory had his, he carried it in an SPI belt and said he didn’t even notice it. Cory has offered to write a race report that I can post soon.
For spectators I will state the obvious and say get there early for a good spot and be prepared to walk kinda far. Public are not allowed very close to the finish line so wear comfortable shoes. Also there are multiple security check points. Don’t assume that because you have made it through a check point you are “in” like at an airport. I think we went through 8 check points. If you want to get around fast be sure that you don’t carry anything, even a small wrist bags will need to be checked. This year it was pretty cold and poring down rain so that added additional issues. I did carry a back pack with warm ups for Cory and in the end we were glad that I did! It was really fun to watch the elite racers come through I couldn’t believe how fresh they looked so close to the end. While I would have loved to see Des or Shalane win it was still amazing.
It was really inspiring to see all the men and women from the military running in their fatigues. Can you imagine running a marathon in combat boots, much respect!
There is a service you can sign up for that will text you updates with your runners splits at certain check points, this was really nice to see. We cheered on everyone until seeing Cory come past us, the cold had gotten to him (he did not have throw away warm ups) so he wasn’t having his best race but was still having fun. We hurried as best we could back towards the finish line to meet Cory. There is a family meeting area organized by last name that makes things a lot easier, Cory had just beat us there. He was cold and tired so we were extra glad that I had his warm ups with me so he didn’t have to walk to Boston Commons in the rain to pick them up.
Overall great race and really fun. My Mom and Dad traveled with us, they are multiple marathoners themselves (hmmmm…apple doesn’t fall far from the tree does it) so they loved it too.
Up next: Boston Tourist Report