Thursday, April 30, 2015

Shlomo’s 2015 Boston Marathon Experience

Shlomo’s 2015 Boston Marathon Experience

·         Pre-Race and Expo

o   Ease of access to expo and layout –

Packet pick-up and the pre-marathon expo took place in the convention center on Boylston St. There was a large security presence in and around downtown Boston as expected. Getting to the bib and packet pick-up was fairly easy and without any hiccups. Signage was great, and there were no lines which was even better.

o   Knowledge of staff, vendors, and volunteers –

It was very clear that each volunteer and/or staff member knew their job requirements. There were plenty of information desks throughout the building, with knowledgeable volunteers.

o   Overall experience of the expo –

Other than it being very crowded in the main hall, I really enjoyed my time at the expo. The layout was nice and the vendors were very courteous and knew the products and/or services that they were providing. It was amazing to see many familiar faces too. 4 stars

·         Starting line/Race start

o   Ease of access to start line, signage, and coral seeding –

This one’s interesting. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Boston Marathon here I go. To get to the start line you can do one of two things, drive to Hopkinton MA, 26 miles west of Boston and try to find your way to the start. Or you can do what 99% of all other participants do that is, take a bus from Boston Commons in the early morning hours and get to the start line that way.

Once you get to Hopkinton, there is what they call “Athletes Village” a common area where all participants hang out till a designated time in the morning. They have all the necessary items a runner may need before a race, from coffee to GU’s and everything in between. Since the race starts at Ten in the morning there is plenty of waiting around. Don’t think you will “show up” and run, bring warm throw-away cloths with you. Don’t do what I did, and only bring only one extra-long sleeve shirt. It can be cold, like this this year. I was freezing and it wasn’t fun.

After about an hour of waiting around we started moving…. That is to the starting corrals a half mile down the road.      

o   Opening ceremonies –

Once in the corrals, the organizers made it a point to get us moving as soon as possible. A quick few announcements, and the National Anthem and we were off! Mile 1 of the 2015 Boston Marathon.

o   Overall experience of the race start –

Organized, quick, orderly, and nothing better than a small town feel for a world marathon major. 4 stars

·         Race course

o   Road surface conditions, mile markers, aid stations, and law enforcement –

With some early morning rain on race day, the road conditions were pretty slick (remember to stay off the paint). Timers and mile markers lined the course from the start line to the finish in Boston. They placed a timer and a mile marker on both sides of the street, there was no doubt as to where you were along the course. Starting from mile two, they placed an aid station on both sides of the road with Gatorade first, water second and amazing volunteers. I also saw signs for medical, and port-a-johns every few miles as well.

The law-enforcement was second to none. I have never seen so many officers like what I saw on race day.   

o   Neighborhoods and crowd support throughout course –

In the first few miles as you are going through the different towns along the race course it’s fairly quiet with the exception of the volunteers at the aid stations. However, once we got to the 4th mile in the wind, rain, and cold the crowds got larger and louder along the course. As many as ten people deep in certain areas. The loudest spots along the course are in Wellesley (Mile 16/17), and from mile 20 to the finish. There was an expected 1 million spectators along the course, despite the not so great weather.

o   Overall experience of the race course –

Fast, quick, loud, supportive, and friendly runner comradery are just a few ways to describe what you will experience when you run in the Boston Marathon. 5 stars

·         Post-race/Finish line festival

o   Finishers medal and awards ceremony –

 All I can say is the following. 2015 was the 119th running of The Boston Marathon, and it’s the only race in the United States that you have had to run a previous marathon - and meet a qualifying time. With that being said, the actual medal itself is pretty simple, but with the extensive history of the event; the medal is only secondary. I didn’t stay around for the awards ceremony, due to the wind, cold, and the fact that I needed to drive back to Washington DC.

o   Ease of access to post-race refreshments –

The post-race refreshments were like any other “big city” marathon. Water, Gatorade, bananas, and a gift bag from sponsors of the event. I really liked the idea of the tables being placed down the middle of the road, and the volunteers handing out the refreshments. It made it very easy to get your stuff and head out.   

o   Overall experience of the finish line –

Due to the wind, rain, and cold temps. I decided to get back to where I was staying as fast as possible, so I can warm-up and put on some dry clothes. 4 stars

·         In summary

The 119th running of the Boston Marathon was a success. With a NEW Personal Record of 2:55:04 and being injury-free, I couldn’t be any happier!

I am looking forward to running the Boston Marathon in the near future. Maybe for the 125th year. Who knows…..

Star Ratings

*= Very Dissatisfied

**= Somewhat Dissatisfied

***= Neutral

****= Enjoyed

*****= Amazing