Ask any runner what makes the Boston Marathon so special, and they will inevitably mention its unmatched crowd support along the course. There are few (if any) areas of the 26.2 mile trek that are not lined with people, several-deep.
Highlights include: the women of Wellesley College, who can be heard long before they are seen and offer kisses to runners in need of a pick-me-up before the most grueling section of the race (Newton’s Heartbreak Hill). Boston College doesn’t disappoint, here, as campus is located in Newton. Their energy helps a lot when runners feel the ominous presence of “the wall” looming. Not to be outdone, I recall being highly impressed by Boston University’s cheering section(s). The gals liked Om Bro Reece, which gave me a chuckle. (It goes without saying that if you can make me laugh at mile 24, you’re a special kind of spectator). Kenmore Square gives me chills just thinking about it. When Fenway fans are headed into or filing out of the Red Sox game, it’s pure, Boston sports mayhem. It’s what we live for, as Bostonians, really.
If you’re planning to watch the race on Monday, here are some tips to help you stand out from the crowd as an elite Boston Marathon spectator . . .
- Track Your Athlete:
- Scout Your Spot:
- Dress the Part:
- Have a Cheer Strategy:
- Come Prepared with Snacks and Water:
Text message alerts are a great way to track your athlete from start to finish; however, this system is still relatively new and notoriously unreliable on race day. Register early and be advised that the timing of alerts can be delayed. It’s best to have an idea of a runner’s pace if you’re hoping to spot and support them.
This is crucial. Know and communicate to your runner where you’ll watch the race, in advance. For example, I’ll be on Commonwealth Ave., runners’ right-hand side, just before you go beneath the Mass. Ave bridge.
Dress comfortably and, if possible, distinguish yourself with a certain color, hat, or other object. It will help runners spot you when they need your moral boost most.
Any cheering is much appreciated; however, runners love to know you’re cheering for them, specifically. Call out their name (it’s probably written on their singlet), yell their number, or just make eye contact. I wore insanely bright, lululemon, pink pants when I ran Boston, and whenever someone shouted, “Wahoo, go get ‘em, pink pants!” I knew who they were talking to.
Even if your runner insists they have enough Gu, Gatorade, and the like, bring snacks. I always have something for my friends but, also, for the likelihood that another runner may cramp up near you and need an emergency stash of Swedish Fish.
Happy Marathon Weekend!
Join me tonight and tomorrow (April 15 and 16, 5-6 PM) at the Boston Marathon Race Expo for my Yoga for Runners class.