Live Your Film

Raise a Beer to Boston

by Holly Wheeler

Holly at Boston MarathonWith just two weeks to go, the Boston hype has arrived, and although I won’t be there this year, I think how special this year will be for the city and runners. Last year’s unthinkable tragedy showed the world how resilient marathon runners and their fans are and it also showed the world BOSTON’s strength.  Those roads will be lined with even more fans this year—mark my word.

As a first-time qualifier and traveler to the city just two years ago (with 15 friends in one coastal rental house mind you), here is a Hoosier’s take on the experience (insert chuckles and smiles).

Runners are treated like Royalty. Upon arriving early morning to the train on race day, we ran into a little trouble parking. When the parking attendant saw we were Boston Marathon runners he said, “You should’ve f$#*ing told me you were f&$ing running the race!” And with that, he cheered us along, let us catch the train and skip the logistics.

Runners are runners no matter where they’re from. Next came the crazy bus ride to the start with international flair. Food, water, ibuprofen and potty concerns filled the bus. Hearing the different languages, smelling the various farts, and seeing the smiles were priceless. Even more priceless was when we hopped off the bus, runners were dropping their drawers peeing everywhere and seeing all the different tones and shapes of butt cheeks will forever be engrained in my mind.

Running fans are crazy on Patriot’s Day, and the whole city has the day off. I was offered several beers, some by motorcyclists with lengthy beards and some from Boston College students. I embraced this—waiting until mile 20. High fives were delivered each time I sipped, and it was like turning 21 in Bloomington all over again. Kisses were also given from Wellesley college girls, and—once again—it was like a college party because every time I kissed a girl on the cheek, there were more screams and yells.

You never know what will happen before race day. Pre-race should not be a combination of Boston pastries, private-warehouse lobster, clam chowder, four nights of beer drinking, breaking and entering, or the police (another blog for another time). I ended up in someone’s small mansion paying the price for a few of these things at mile 18. Enough said.

The Boston Marathon course was prettier than I ever expected, with rolling down hills, brick roads, beautiful homes, college campuses and perfect weather. Finishing this race with the streets lined for miles and miles was a true runner’s high—and even though my legs were dead, I had run my worst time and still had tummy troubles, the endorphins were exploding. I laughed and cried and hugged people I would never see again.

I hope all the first-time Boston runners this year experience some of these “only Boston” moments (minus the police and bathroom issues). The memories are certainly worth more than the finish time.

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