Boston Marathon Blog
Elisabeth Bernard | Food and Health Editor
A mile-by-mile of the 127th annual Boston Marathon.
The Boston Marathon was started in 1897 by John Graham, a Boston Athletic Association member, who was inspired by the Olympic Marathon, according to The Boston Athletic Association. Since then, the city has hosted the famous road race on Patriots’ Day every year. This year, I had the privilege of running it along with 30,000 other runners from across the globe.
There are thousands of reasons runners decide to take on Boston—whether they are raising money for a cause, to experience the history of the race or simply to challenge themselves. Taking the starting line, they think of their reasons and their goals. Running my first Boston Marathon, I wanted to soak in every mile and have fun. After months of training, the energy of this race exceeded my expectations and was worth every long run and grueling workout leading up to April 17.
On the morning of race day, I woke up bright and early to make my 8:15 a.m. bus load time. From there, I got my last few snacks and deep breaths in on the 45-minute ride to the start at Hopkinton. On the walk from the athletes’ village to the starting line, I met dozens of other runners of all ages, some new to the race and some longtime vets. As soon as we took off, I knew this race was going to be different. Starting down a narrow road elbow-to-elbow, I felt a sense of comradery with everyone around me. At about three miles in, we were already at Ashland. Six miles in, we made it to Framingham where I filled up on Gatorade. The first six miles breezed by, but I knew the course would go uphill from there. By mile 12, I was feeling great, but I reminded myself to keep my pace stead as I was almost at the halfway mark.
Going into mile 13, I could hear cheers of encouragement getting louder and louder, especially when I finally approached the “scream tunnel.” According to Runners World, “for 111 years, the women of Wellesley College have made spectating a sport. On Marathon Monday, it’s tradition for students to cheer on Boston Marathoners who race past campus near mile 13. Thousands of women lined about a quarter mile of the course, motivating runners with hoots, hollers, high-fives and even kisses. The so-called Wellesley Scream Tunnel is so loud, runners say they can hear it from a mile away.”
The timing of the scream tunnel could not be better; it was just the rush of energy I needed to finish out the last half of the run and the Newton Hills, which start 16 miles in.
Entering Newton, I knew finishing up the hardest series of hills during the second half of the race would be tough. But even at mile 17, the crowd had not dwindled. At the bottom of hill number one, I ran to the side of the road to grab a hard-earned popsicle, which both gave me a boost of sugar and reminded me to have fun with the few miles I had left. After three more miles of hard hill work, I had finally reached the final hill of the Newton Hills: Heartbreak Hill. Boston Guide explains the history of the famous hill, writing, “Defending champion and Massachusetts native John A. Kelley—who would go on to record the most starts in Boston Marathon history (61) and ran his last race in 1992 at the age of 84—was in the lead around the 20-mile mark. He had passed rival Ellison ‘Tarzan’ Brown in the Newton hills, giving a friendly tap on Brown’s shoulder as he did so. That gesture would come back to haunt Kelley, however, as on the last of those hills it inspired Brown to overtake Kelley.”
Sure enough, on tired legs, this was the point in the race where I truly depended on the energy of the crowd and the knowledge that every runner was pushing each other to the finish line; I stopped my music for the last six miles and enjoyed the encouragement. When I saw the Citgo sign one mile from 26.2, I smiled from that point to the finish and appreciated the few minutes I had left of this one-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Elisabeth Bernard serves as our Food and Health Editor. This is her first year with Alice. She is a self-proclaimed “foodie” who loves to try new things. Originally from Knoxville, Tennessee, Elisabeth is a rising junior studying Political Science and English with a minor in Spanish.