Tuesday, April 7, 2009

13 Days to Boston Marathon: How Many Towns Was That?

Point-to-point marathons can either play with your mind and wreak havoc on a runner's mental game, or it can be one cool bragging right when you realize you ran the distance that many people drive. When you're heading out on the bus from Boston Common to Hopkinton High School for the Boston Marathon start, it just might hit you that you'll be running nearly this same path in just a few hours. And that can either be daunting or motivating.

Before you get to Beantown and end your 26.2-mile journey in the heart of Copley Square and nearly in front of the Boston Public Library, what the heck did you run past to get there? You could probably study the course map a million times, but once you're out there, everything becomes a blur. How many towns pack in the spectators to greet you and how many signs do you pass welcoming you into each main drag?

I had to stop counting the signs in 2007 after the welcome mats to Ashland and Framingham started numbers whirling through my head. Already a painful race, the thought of the number of miles left before reaching Heartbreak Hill or entering the Boston city limits made each step seem that much further from the finish line. But looking back it's pretty cool to realize I ran through each of these areas on my journey east to the city:
  • Hopkinton--race start
  • Ashland
  • Framingham
  • Natick
  • Wellesley--happy halfway and home to Wellesley College
  • Newton
  • Chestnut Hill--home to Boston College
  • Brookline
  • Boston--Boston University, Fenway Park and the finish line
There's more to each of these towns that just a name and there's something special to find whether it be a statue, a landmark, crowd support to remember or a course feature. After only running through the various neighborhoods of Chicago during other marathon treks (at least until Boston 2007), the town to town travels really captured my attention. And to think I ran through eight towns on one day made my head spin. Silly, I know. Photo grabbed from wickedlocal.com. Posted by Kate

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