Spent half a day at mile 16 vantage point for the Boston Marathon, which is conveniently down the street from my house. Beautiful day to set up a folding chair in the sun, start on one of yesterday’s crossword puzzles and wait for the race to come to me.
First, the wheelchairs. Then the elite women. Then the elite men. All pretty inspiring. But the most inspiring is the next following couple of hours, when the remainder of the field, the vast majority of the 30,000 bib holders, trudge up the hill from Wellesley and the Charles River valley, crest with exhaustion, exhale, and start to trot down-hill towards the real “Newton Hills.”
Best sights at Sixteen:
The man with greying temples who stopped to carefully pet my dog. Must have been a hard hill for him, as he gave Popcorn the longest petting of the day.
The runners with broad bands of colored tape running up their legs and backs; informed by a runner standing nearby that the tape helped the muscles stretch.
People responding to their names, some on their shirts, some inked onto their arms or thighs. Most raised their arm and waved; some, grimly looking ahead, seemingly did not hear.
Amazing array of body types, from the lithe to the improbable. Very few with tattoos, I am sure tattoos were vastly unrepresented; something interesting about runners I suspect…
Shirts of all types, with schools and countries and running clubs and taverns and causes and diseases of all sorts being displayed, advertised, supported, stamped out.
Great empathy for a man roughly my age lumbering up the hill, so slowly you could easily read his shirt, which said in large letters: Just Do Not Suck.
But the best shirt must go to the man running with a guide next to him. Both had on the backs of their black shirts: The Voice inside of you that says you cannot do this is a Liar. He was past me onto the downhill until I realized he had no legs; his two metal blades sprung him downward towards Boston.
I was tempted to start calling out “You’re doing great, only 14 more miles to go” but my wife told me that was a sick joke and might not be taken well by the poor runners. She might have been right about that…..