The Boston Marathon: April 2018

‘I think I can feel wet seeping through the zipper in this vest.  Yup, that’s water.  Now I’m wet all the way through.  Crap, here comes another gust and downpour.  Head down!  Glad I wore this cap to keep the rain out of my eyes!  Alright, fall in behind a group to get some wind blockage and save energy.’

6:30 AM: It had been raining without a break since about 4 AM.  The temperature was in the high 30s, and the wind was gusting over 30 mph.  I stood in a line 60 people deep at Boston Commons for a double line of school buses parked along the entire block.

7:45 AM: We finally reached Hopkinton Middle, where the Athlete’s village had been set up about a half mile from the famous start line.  It was still raining and the wind was still gusting!  Thankfully they had huge carnival tents set up on the baseball fields for shelter.  I found a patch of ground in a tent corner and huddled up with six other folks.  We did our best to stay warm and laughed at crazy we all were.  Some miseries are joys when shared!

‘Geez, this rain and wind are bonkers!  But there are still so many spectators out here cheering us on – these Bostonians are nutso!  Every time it’s really poured down they’ve just screamed louder… who are these people?!?!’

9:15 AM: Still raining.  But time for Wave 1 to head to the start line.  I’d avoided the rain as long as I could!  I threw my custom cut 55 gallon trash bag over my head and gave in to the elements!  

9:50 AM: More rain, more gusts.  With 10 minutes to go until start it was finally time to get my dry shoes and socks on, throw out the hoodie and beloved trash bag.  Try to shake out, get warm and get psyched!  

10:00 AM: The gun – finally the gun!  Let’s do this craziness!  

Monday marked the running of the 122nd Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest annual marathon and one of its most prestigious. This race was first run by fifteen men in 1897 and has been run ever since then, the numbers swelling to nearly 26,000 finishers this year.  I was privileged to be one of them!

When people hear about my childhood in Kenya they always think that’s when I started running.  Ironically though, I didn’t run at all in Kenya, not even a little bit!  I ran a bit in college and found joy in it, but it wasn’t until we moved to Greenville almost five years ago that I started running for real.  We had just moved here and were finding our community.  One of the dads at JP’s school found out that I ran and invited me to join him and a few others one morning.  Running with guys sounded great!  But there was one problem: I’d heard about these guys.  They were known for being FAST.  

I finally joined them one morning for a typical Tuesday run.  We ran 6 miles and I barely held on!  Several months later I ran my first half marathon, the farthest I’d ever run!  The last four years of consistent coaching, persistent pushing and lots of sweaty hours together have led to the best running and some of the best friendship I’ve ever had.

Running the Boston Marathon was unforgettable.  Sure, the conditions were the worst in recent memory (these were the slowest winning times since 1976!) but the atmosphere was unbelievable!  Each part of that 26.2 mile course was lined with spectators cheering us on through the elements.  The wind would rip and the rain would pour and they would just cheer louder!  These were the real champs!  It was obvious that Bostonians are fiercely proud of this event.  Patriot’s Day isn’t just a national holiday, this day, this race is Boston’s holiday.  Cheers to you Boston!  I’ll see you again!

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