Reflections on Boston Weekend, by Carolyn Mather/Running Journal

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This piece is on the weekend of activities prior to the Boston Marathon. We asked Carolyn Mather, long time senior writer for Running Journal, to provide you, dear reader, a birds eye view of the plethora of activities over the long weekend of Boston. This gives you an idea of what you can experience Thursday to Sunday, up to the very night before the race. Breathe it in, and then, come to Boston to experience it.



REFLECTIONS ON BOSTON WEEKEND

I arrived in Boston on Thursday and was immediately in the thick of the massive preparations and functions associated with the biggest week of the year in Boston.The opening night reception was a gathering of the movers and shakers of the running world. It was an incredible event masterfully hosted by the Boston Athletic Association.


The next morning began with media credentials pick up then the John Hancock Elite Team press conference. Twenty one women and twenty three men were introduced by the vice president of John Hancock in addition to many heroes of the past including Uta Pippig, Joanie Samuelson, Deena Kastor, Bill Rodgers, Ryan Hall, Greg Meyer and the Hoyts. The media swarmed Meb as he is running his last Boston before the culmination of his career in New York City next fall. Over twenty Olympians are contending for the win this year in the 121st running of the Boston Marathon.


All of the athletes appeared fit and ready to run. Galen Rupp and Jordan Hasay who are making their Boston debuts are two of the favorites for taking the tape on Monday. Galen is a two time Olympic medal winner while Jordan who has been a star since high school, is running her first marathon at age 25 after taking three national titles in her Boston build up,
Desi Linden a two time Olympian who had a close second in 2011 is prepared for the win and says she is in better shape than the 2011 Desi. She has had her challenges in the intervening six years but she is completely healthy and ready to contend.Look for this seasoned runner lurking during the entire race. Desi always executes her race plan to absolute perfection.


Predicting the winners is nearly impossible in such a star studded field but all can anticipate a fantastic race. There are world champions, former winners and the usual complement of contenders put together in the field by the imminent Mary Kate Shea who manages to recruit the cream of the crop of elite runners.


Following the press conference it was off to the Expo in the company of the soon to be published author, four time Olympian Deena Kastor. Accompanying Deena is a stop and go affair as everyone wants to talk, get a selfie with her and get tips on the marathon. Deena is always gracious and eager to share information. Another press event followed with Ben True and Molly Huddle taking center stage along with Kiwi Nick Willis and Grace Connolly, the Massachusetts high school phenom. They were taking part in the BAA 5K or the mile race the following morning.


Kathrine Switzer has been the talk of the town this weekend as she celebrates the 50th anniversary of her running the marathon before women were allowed to enter the race and her altercation with Jock Semple in 1967.She is running this year's race and her number from 1967(261) will be retired after the race to commemorate her pioneering in the world of women's running.The program, hosted by her husband Roger Robinson and with actual eye witnesses to the event was an enthralling telling of the run that started the inclusion of women in running. Her 261 has started a foundation to get women running all over the world with the assistance of adidas.


The day ended with several parties to celebrate Boston. Global Athletics head Mark Wetmore always puts on a stellar affair near the finish line for all of the people associated with the elite athletes.


Saturday dawned as a perfect day. Over 10,000 people congregated in Boston Common to take on the BAA 5K. Ben True cemented his level of fitness as he ran another American record besting a fast field in 13:20 while Molly Huddle settled for second in a sprint to the finish two seconds behind Buze Deriba's winning time of 14:54. Nick Willis repeated his mile win in 4:13.2 while Grace Connolly took the high school mile in 5:04.


Following the busy morning Generation U Can held a standing room only program honoring their most famous product user Meb. Meb was his usual humble and gracious self addressing the huge crowd who were present to honor his prestigious career. Knowing Meb for twenty plus years I know he is worthy of every accolade and honor he is given. He has definitely earned hero status.


A few more stops and I was fortunate to attend the premiere of Boston the Documentary courtesy of the ever generous Executive director of the BAA, Tom Grilk. Tom has gone above and beyond to assist me in this first Boston since my husband passed away. The BAA and their gracious presence make Boston the grand experience it is.My everlasting thanks go to all of them. They know who they are!!


The documentary shown at the legendary Wang Center was stunning covering the past history of the race in addition to the 2014 race after the 2013 tragedy. I ran the race in 2014 and soaked up every molecule of Boston Strong and the resilience of Boston and the runners and crowds. Commentator Toni Reavis and I relived many moments where we covered the race. It was a true collage of many memories.I must admit I cried and laughed throughout the entire film.


Easter Sunday has arisen sunny and quite warm.Everyone is in their last preparation before the race.I have several more functions culminating with the awesome pasta party this evening after the ZAP get together. ZAP is a post collegiate elite running group administered by Zika and Pete Rea in Blowing Rock,NC. In addition to providing many opportunities for their runners they host running camps in the summer which are a true destination running vacation.


I trust I have paced myself well and will be here bright and bushy tailed early tomorrow morning to witness the running of the 121st Boston Marathon. I will report on the women's race tomorrow.

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