You probably can type in “Boston Marathon Blog” and find lists and lists of people who ran Boston and blog, who are trying to qualify for Boston, and Blog, or just ran Boston and Blog….So I won’t of course be one of those. Firstly, I am not trying to qualify to run Boston, so I won’t probably ever run it. It isn’t even an actual goal of mine. (I KNOW, Sacrilegious aren’t I?) In fact, I never really cared much about Boston, until Boston got bombed. I admit it. But you know, once a marathon is bombed, in my country, it’s an attack on “my people” so I got a bit more interested.
What I found even more interesting as I explored and learned more about Boston Marathon is that it is one of several marathons that are really embraced and loved by the host city. Let’s face it, most people really do not like having a marathon race come to town. A lot of times they aren’t aware of it, and suddenly on a Sunday morning a trip for coffee becomes a nightmare of detours so some people can run. Runners likewise, don’t really think much about the locals. We are usually caught up in our nutrition/hydration plans, forgotten items, race strategy, and matching our shirts. But Boston, run on Patriots Day, is really a day of celebration for most residents. After seeing my friend Pam post the most wonderful updates on Facebook on Marathon day, I realized this race means so much more than many marathons. So I thought I’d invite my friend Pam, who lives right in the thick of things to do a bit of an interview and explain how awesome the Boston Marathon is from a spectators perspective. Pam is not a runner, but an avid walker, sports fan, and observer of life!
How long you have lived in the Boston Area, and when was your first awareness of the Boston Marathon?
I moved here in October of 1985 and lived not even a quarter of a mile from the route, so I watched my first Marathon in April of 1986.
Robert DeCastella- Australian winner of the 1986 Boston Marathon, also set a course record that year. It must have been an electric year!
Do you remember your first time to spectate at the Marathon? What were you thoughts then?
I remember thinking “ouch.” And “wow.” And how much fun it was to have such a sense of community in Boston/Brighton.
The Brighton section of the race is a small section but, at mile 21..it is one of the most critical parts of the race for those actually racing the event. Crowds in that area can get as many at 8-10 persons deep and for 2014 I imagine it was many more.
Photo by Pam Fradkin
You have always followed all sorts of sports, but I have noticed over the years, you are always very excited for the Marathon. Do you think most people in Boston feel this way?
I don’t know if most people feel this way, but most of the people I’ve known and worked with have paid attention to the winners. The Marathon seems to feel like “our time” and as a city, we seem to really appreciate it. On the other hand, I am sure there are people who have zero interest in it–I just don’t know them.
Photo by Pam Fradkin
Photo by Pam Fradkin
Looking at photos from the Marathon, I’m not sure there was anyone with zero interest!
What is your favorite thing about the Boston Marathon/Patriots day?
The sense of community.
Photos above by Pam Fradkin
While the terror event in 2013 shook up the running community across the world, all of Boston seemed to get tougher and fiercely protective of this gem of an event for the city. It is this community that makes Boston so strong.
Tell me a little bit about the Boston Marathon of 2013. What was it like for you? Were you surprised at the enormous running response? and at the response of people outside of the US?
I felt sick. I felt like I lost my bearings and I took it personally. I had gone the day before to take pictures and wander about near the finish line and on Monday, the pictures of the bombing aftermath sat in stark opposition to those I took.
I was not surprised by the running response, but I was certainly grateful. The Boston Marathon has always attracted international runners and spectators and again, I wasn’t surprised, but very touched.
I myself (Mizunogirl not Pam) was not at all fond of the uprising of tribute runs, as I noted last year. But, I think seeing it from a Bostonians perspective, it seems they weren’t as self-serving as I felt them to be.
What do you think about the people who planted the Bombs?
At the time, I hated them. And although I was afraid, I was also defiant. I wanted them locked up for the rest of their natural lives. (I do not support Capital Punishment under any circumstance.)
What do you think that most Bostons feel about these people?
Many called for their deaths. There is no love for the haters , here or anywhere else.
I remember many posts from Pam about “sheltering at home” from this time. It must have been a tense time to be in the Boston area.
Now…lets talk about Boston Marathon 2014. I know you took the day off to be there.
Yes, I did.
What was it like? How was it different from other years? How was it the same? DO you think the increased security was needed and worth it?
It was incredible. I watched at miles 24 and 25, in Brookline. It was different in that people were even more enthusiastic (which I did not think possible) and the spectators stayed longer to watch more of the slower runners. It was the same in that people had programs with them, and knew the runners.
The security was needed to assuage fears–whether real or unfounded. And the cops and officers from the many forces that were out were really friendly, and helpful.
(Photo by Pam Fradkin)
Were you happy with the entire race?
Me? Oh yeah.
What kind of lessons can we learn from the Boston race of 2014 and 2013? DId the successful race encourage you/your thoughts beyond Boston?
I don’t know what lessons we can learn beyond continuing to do what we do–smartly and with a global awareness.
Oh yes- many many people find running race spectating BORING, but you say youa re a good spectator. You seem to have an innate understanding of the difficulty each person is dealing with during such a race. Why is that?
I actually think my lifelong passion and penchant for taking long walks has made me appreciate running as a spectator sport. Birth defects prevented me from even contemplating being a runner, but I’ve been known to walk 13 miles on a given day. I appreciate the body mechanics, the wear and tear, and the rhythms of running. And, I intuitively sense good form–perhaps that comes from being a huge fan of modern dance.
Photo by Pam Fradkin.
Tell me anything more that is great and wonderful or critical….
I think some runners are very arrogant; they think they are somehow better than us because they can run fast or long distances. I don’t feel any athlete, even the best athletes in any sport, are better people then the rest of us, just more talented in some areas. But I don’t let those runners ruin the whole sport and appreciation of the sport for me.
I’d like to really thank Pam for taking the time to answer all of my crazy questions. I’m so glad that I have had the opportunity to know her and to gain from her perspective on things. As always, lots of great things to think about!