Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Missing Boston: The View from Austin

Yesterday was Patriot's Day, which means it was the running of the 116th Boston Marathon.  Because I grew up in MA and went to college there, Patriot's Day was always a holiday, that is until I moved to TX.  Although some businesses are not closed in MA on Patriot's Day (especially those that only observe banking holidays), the schools and colleges give the day off.  Not only did that make this Monday special because of a long weekend, but I grew up close enough to Boston that I would always go into the city and spectate (except the two years I ran as a qualified runner, 2006 & 2007).  Spectating is a big deal on Marathon Monday, there are tens of thousands of people who do it every year, regardless of the weather, and it is truly a wonderful and fun experience.  There is nothing like the excitement of the world's best runners and all the energy that comes along with it.  Plus there is swag.  In high school, I would have to hurry home as the race was winding down for an evening track practice.  Even though school wasn't in session, we still had practice.  In college, the day was one long party with maybe a little time devoted to finishing problem sets.

Joshua Cassidy wins the men's wheelchair division of the 116th Boston Marathon, react on  the April 15, 2012  in Boston, Massachusetts.
The big news of the day with J. Cassidy breaking the push
rim course record.
Now that I am in TX, my enthusiasm for the race has hardly waned, but people around me just don't have the same appreciation that my fellow Bostonians did.  While my family members headed into Boston and Hopkinton to volunteer (proud of them!), I watched the live streaming coverage provided by Universal Sports online.  At least as much as my work allowed me to.  I was really pleased with their coverage, although it just focused on the lead finishers in each race and did not talk about any "mid-packers," and unlike in previous years it was free!  I also charted the progress of all my friends that I knew were running and the new mapping feature that the BAA had was excellent.  Like every Boston marathon I have watched, the 116th was no exception in making me feel inspired and nostalgic.  In fact, it makes me very much want to focus on re-qualifying so I can run a third time.  As they showed sections of the course, I was reminded of the many long training runs I did on the Newton hills or Beacon St in college.  And while I really enjoy trying new marathons, I firmly believe that Boston is the greatest marathon in the world.  Of course, I am probably biased because it is firmly embedded in the culture I grew up in and attending those races year after year is what inspired me to run a marathon in the first place.

There is something magical about Patriot's Day in Boston and I hope everyone who wants to gets to experience that someday.  Congratulations to all who ran the race yesterday in some very tough conditions.  I think you deserve some honorary TX status after that heat!

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