Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Vignettes from the Finish Stretch of the 2016 Boston Marathon

Congratulations to all the runners! You are an inspiration!

I did not run Boston this year as I had the 3 previous years. Time for a break and a wait.  I get a 15 minute "bonus" as I age into another group in 2017...
Spectating was fun and just as intense as running, emotionally and physically. Well not that intense physically but my feet are sore and my activity tracker says many miles covered.  Emotionally as it was incredible to see the effort and joy of so many tens of thousands from my spectating perch at the Lenox Hotel, a few hundred yards from the finish.
Many thanks to New Balance, a Boston based brand, for the invitation to their viewing party.

Early. Logistics. Logistics!
I got to Boston as the school busses were loading for the trip to Hopinkton. It was warm, very warm.

This team from Korea had a last minute group photo
I wanted to see what the finish area looked like before the race. Block after block was being set up with food, water, giant medical tents with hundreds of the 9400 total volunteers setting it all up in good cheer.

I call the finish trek after... the finish the longest mile. Many yards between each post race station: water, medal, recovery drink, food, etc... Many attentive volunteers and medical staff. You can't walk it they whisk you away in a wheel chair so keep going!
The finish is way back in the distance

The finish is way back in the distance
I arrived at the Lenox by a circuitous back way due to the security checkpoints. New Balance had a great spread and plenty of cheer, 2 early Bloody Mary's set me up for the rest of the day.  I watched the women's start on the Jumbotron and headed back inside and to the sidewalk where I planted myself for almost 4 hours.
Boston's finest on duty.
I didn't wait long as the wheelchair racers provided the first thrill of the day with an incredible 3 way sprint photo finish won by Marcel Hug of Switzerland. My viewing spot 200 yards from the finish

Shortly after they arrived what looked like hundreds of policemen on bicycles arrived from both directions and spaced themselves out on the street.

The Boston Police Commissioner William Evans passed on running his 50th marathon, including many Bostons, to keep an eye on everything and keep everyone safe. I remember him walking the outside of the barriers last year when I ran to the finish, watching everything like a hawk.

He was directing more than security this year. He was "directing" what is also called a sort of"bandit", an unofficial runner who was being filmed for the Mark Wallhberg movie about the Marathon bombing "finishing" several times, launching his run from where I was standing. The Commish joked with us each time the guy came back that it was all on the up and up. 
Bobbi Gibb the first woman to run Boston in 1966 was the Grand Marshall, arriving in style. An accomplished scientist and sculptor at 73 she still runs an hour a day. 

I unfortunately did not get a good picture of the women's winner  Atsede Baysa (ETH) but did of Lemi Hayle (ETH). What incredible form and wearing those trusty Adios Boost, turns out not even the current model.

It's not about every second on the clock. I saw two incredible scenes of runners supporting staggering fellow competitors and supporting them to the finish line. Very moving and unselfish as these runners were all around 3 hours or so.

Michael Westphal from Great Cranberry Island Maine is a great runner in his late 50's now suffering from advancing Parkinson's Disease. Accompanied by his brother Rolf he finished in an incredible 3:38 while running the race, it appears from the splits, with another great champion, see below.

Here caught from behind Uta Pippig wearing a Team Hoyt jersey. Even if you are former 3 time Boston champion with a 2:21 PR at Boston of all places (1994) there is joy in running the marathon at any pace. She finished in 3:38.40 after a 1:43 first half, right with Michael Westphal.  She was smiling and waving to everyone as she finished. Wearing some comfy old school trainers!

I looked for friends but the only one I caught on camera was Sally Reiley. A latecomer to marathoning in her mid 50's, her first 3 marathons have been Boston while raising money for Mass Eye and Ear Hospital. And they have all been in the 3:30's. Yesterday likely one of the few to PR with a 3:33.09 and 8th in her age group.  Another friend Krystina Hawryluk was also in the PR club with a stellar 3:20.32 PR. Incredible smart racing on a tough day.
 And on an on they came with all kinds of form, shoes, and outfits.
NYPD Bomb Squad was in front of the hotel. Calmest dog I have ever seen. Friendly, unflappable, and  quietly vigilant

After the race in the warm sun naps in the Common were enjoyed by many runners!

Congratulations to all the runners and their support teams of family and friends!

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RickS said...

Sam, thanks providing your wonderful collection of photos and comments. I've never attended the Boston Marathon however I felt involved with the experience due to your personal remarks. Thanks for investing your time and energy recording this incredible event.

Sam Winebaum said...

Thanks Rick! It was quite something and just as intense from the other side of the barriers. A magnificent event with so many stories that is only getting better 120 years in!