Normally, all the stories you hear are of the runners and spectators so here’s a quick recap of my day of volunteering at the Boston Marathon:
3:45 Wake up call.
4:10 Hit the road for Hopkinton.
5:10 Get on the bus to Athlete’s Village
5:30 Check in and get our jackets & credentials
7:20 The first buses loaded with runners start to arrive at Athlete’s Village
9:05 The first wave of runners is sent off to the start line
11:25 The last wave of runners crosses the start line
So picture this, it’s your day off and the alarm is going off at 3:45 in the morning. It took me a minute to figure out what was going on. The only thing that got me out of bed was thinking of the runners who were probably already up and getting ready. They’d be running 26.2 miles, all I had to do was lead them to the start line.
Next thing I know, my aunt is at my house to pick me up. We were volunteering together for the second year. It’s about at hour to Hopkinton and we had to check in at 5:30 am. This year, due to heightened security, we needed to park away from Athlete’s Village and take a shuttle in. It was exciting in its own weird way because the runners also arrive on shuttles.
Our job this year was Entrance/Exit Marshall. We ended up at the exit and our job was to organize the runners and get them to the start in the right wave and corral. As you can imagine, this is a daunting task with 36,000 runners! Thanks to some great announcers and wicked smaht runners, things ran pretty smoothly. The runners were organized into 4 waves of 9,000 which was then broken down into 9 corrals of 1,000 each. They’d be released by wave in groups of 3 corrals at a time. For the most part, they listened. We’d get a few that came out too early and we had to do our best to grab their attention and lead them to the right area. I’m honestly surprised I have a voice left today, it was getting pretty raspy towards the end.
I loved every minute of my time there. You can’t even begin to imagine the excitement of Boston unless you have personally experienced it. I was able to help take photos of the runners as I caught them trying to take selfies with the Boston Marathon banner behind them. I hope it made their experience just that much better. One runner handed me a Boston Strong temporary tattoo as she went by. Another runner was video taping and asked me to “say something to the people of Boston”. (I have no idea where that is going to end up). I also tried giving shout outs to everyone I saw who had their name written on them.
Both my aunt and I wanted to run in this years marathon. We had both tried to get in through a charity but the demand was just too high. I was happy to volunteer and as I was there looking at the sea of runners, I kept saying “eh, I don’t know if I’d want to run Boston its just SO BIG.” The runners get to Athlete’s Village almost 3 hours before their wave start time. Then add on the time they spend in Boston waiting to get on the shuttle to the Village. Its a longgggg morning. (and then you add 3-6 hours of running to that.)
But then I came home and saw all the amazing, heart-wrenching pictures and read the stories of incredible athleticism and sportsmanship and I want to run.
I do not know if/when I will ever run Boston. The thought of running 26.2 miles scares me to death. And running under 3 hours and 35 minutes to qualify is damn near impossible. (my only comparable time is a 2:24 half marathon….) But I do know that I will be back to volunteer every year.
Congratulations to everyone that completed the 118th running of the Boston Marathon. Especially the several pregnant mamas I saw, the people missing limbs, the blind runners with their guides (amazing), Team Hoyt!, and the runners invited back that were not able to finish last year. Everyone, the runners, spectators and volunteers, showed what #BostonStrong truly means. Fear does not live here.