My first Boston Marathon experience was a major letdown. A drag. An abysmal weekend.
Never has a marathon been talked up as much as Boston has. Ever. I’ve been reading race reports and articles about Boston for years and it’s always “Boston is great. The food is awesome. The fans are wonderful. The atmosphere is unbeatable.”
But I felt like it was all this big joke on Scott, that everyone was an actor and I was the fool on hidden camera. So why was everyone else acting like they were having so much fun?
Boston’s kinda of a bummer of a city with not much to do. Luckily my hotel room had cable, so I just sat around for three days watching TV. And the food in Boston isn’t anything to write home about. Sure, I had some chowder and fish’n’chips, a steak or two, moist burgers and crispy fries, a creme pie, a bagel sandwich, and a fruity-pebble ice-cream cone …but it just wasn’t very good.
I went to a baseball game too, but the “ballpark” they have there is so old and dirty and run down (built in 1912 or something — I can’t believe it’s still standing) that I spent most of the time worrying if the roof just above home plate was going to collapse and ruin my mouth-watering, mustard-covered sausage and/or spill my ice-cold Boston lager, or if it was going to be the rotting wooden seats that would crumble underneath me.
And the race? Overrated! [gasp] WAY too many runners. And what’s with all the smiles? This isn’t fun, people. This is a marathon. It’s serious business. And it’s only about running at least one-second faster than I did last time. Too much annoying positive energy going around for me.
Too many hills on the course (why didn’t anyone tell me about this part???).
And to the thousands and thousands of spectators who braved the cold morning to come out with orange slices and gummy bears only to yell and scream at me at the top of their lungs: Please stop, I’m trying to concentrate on every single step because this is a marathon and it’s important to me. “Go, Scott! Go, Scott! Go Go Go!” — I’m trying to go, but only because you are so annoying I don’t want to stick around any longer.
I only have one thing to say about the girls of Wellesley: who the heck would want to run by and kiss all these young and attractive women in the middle of the run?
At the risk of starting to sound like I’m bashing Boston and its “special” marathon, and at the risk of sounding like a spoiled brat (I’m not, by the way), I can’t help but wonder if 26.2 miles is just a bit too long for this race. They way I see it, 25.5 would be a much better distance for Boston. But if Boston wants to be just like everyone else putting on a marathon nowadays, then I guess it just goes to show they aren’t as prestigious as they’re making themselves out to be: “Hey, look at us, we’re the Boston Marathon, and we’re making our race the exact same length as a million other races around the world. We’re so special.” I know a marathon is supposed to be hard and all, but I remember clearly thinking that Mile 8 or 9 would have been the perfect spot to end the race. Seems to make a lot more sense. But I guess I’ll just agree to disagree with Boston on this point.
Crossing the finish line was about as underwhelming a moment as I’ve ever had in my life. It was, to be honest, a bit too dramatic of the organizers to have that sharp left turn onto Boylston where the finish line, which was seemingly towering over the entire city, suddenly comes into sight like the light at the end of a I’ve-dreamed-of-this-exact-moment-for-years tunnel. Yawn.
To their credit though, the water at the finish line wasn’t poisoned.
Sheesh, what a waste of a weekend. That’s 26.2 miles I’ll never be able to get back.
If you still aren’t convinced, you need only check out my annotated photo album:
April 18, 2011
Age – 33
Bib # 1252
[Ultra marathoner Scott McMurtrey writes a blog “I Keep Running.” The story of his 2014 Boston can be found there. (And Scott would also mention, at Boston you can’t even run with your dog!)]