Sunday, October 10, 2021

The Magic of Marathon Weekend


"You going to the Expo?" someone asked from behind us as we waited to cross the street.

It's funny how those seemingly little decisions you make before you start your day can set you out on a path of absolute delight and amazing synchronicity.

We were going to do our Saturday morning 5K on Heartbreak Hill and then head out to Mile 10 on the Boston Marathon Course to Paper Fiesta, our friend's celebration boutique for a Spark Kindness event to make posters for the runners and celebrate Boston Marathon Weekend.

We all felt a tug to go in town to experience the festivities. We knew we would not go into the scaled back Expo event but knew there was incredible energy to soak up in the pre-Marathon atmosphere.

We aren't quite ready to hop on public transportation although vaccination rates are up and infection rates are down so we decided to combine our Saturday morning 5K with a visit to Copley Square.

There was a chill in the air typical for October in Boston. We grabbed our volunteer jackets to put around our waist should the wind pick up or we felt cool when we'd slow our pace for photos or to navigate around the crowds.

Tom was our photographer to document the first Boston Marathon in over 900 days!

I wore my Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston t-shirt on a whim. I haven't worn it since April of 2019.

It was easy to tell that we were part of the Boston Marathon scene by what we wore and our location heading in town from Beacon Street.

"We're not going to the Expo this year. We ran it in '09 and Tom ran it in 2011. We wanted to soak up the energy that is unique to Boston. Are you running?"

Ahhh such a simple question and one that we missed asking people before Marathon Monday as we would take the T or sit at a restaurant and strike up conversations. When Boston runs, there are no strangers!

"It's our first!" 

Ed Beach explained that he is the guide for Bill Scianella who will be running his 1st Boston Marathon on Monday although he has run 23 other marathons. Follow this link to hear his amazing story! 

They run with Team With a Vision. I shared how we are friends with David Brown and when I worked with the visually impaired veterans, I became intimately familiar with Mass. Association for the Blind.

While we were doing a walking tour of the course heading into Kenmore, Chris Colby circled back from his shake out run to say hello. I introduced him to our new group of friends and felt my heart overflow with gratitude that, despite so much being different about the Boston Marathon this year, bumping into friends and welcoming out-of-towners to our City remains in the wake of the pandemic. Chris and I met at Dave McGillivray's book launch party at Fenway Park two years ago and we've been Facebook friends ever since.

Tom provided description for going under the tunnel and coming out as they will prepare to take the right on Hereford Street while we reminisced about our Boston Marathon and Sarah shared her two marathon experiences.



As we headed toward Boylston Street, Ed described the scene for Bill. 

We took a selfie before taking the left on Boylston Street with our new friends:

We were glad we had driven down Boylston Street a few days ago so we were able to let them know where they needed to go to get their clearance and bracelets to be able to access the Expo and their buses on race day.

Ruth Anne wanted to go into Marathon Sports because, as she poignantly said, 'It's tradition.' We used to go to the Adidas Home Base store but sadly it went out of business. They had a sidewalk store that had my t-shirt displayed. They asked me where they could purchase my t-shirt and I told them it might be available at the Expo but there they were on display. While Ed and Bill got their medical clearance, Sarah and Bill's wife waited in line to shop. We must have said goodbye to our new friends several times  but we kept bumping in to them.

Tom, Ruth Anne and I went into the store and while they waited for check out, I went outside to make room for more customers. They were limiting the capacity of the store due to the pandemic.

"Excuse me. Do you know where I go to show my vaccination status?" an obviously international runner asked me. Our eyes met above our masks and he expressed gratitude from his heart that he received directions to the tent.

I chatted some more with Sarah while they bought their t-shirts and seemingly out of nowhere, Meb Keflezighi appeared. Ed and Bill returned from the medical tent with their bracelets sharing how the verification process was extremely well organized. They got in line to meet Meb and I got in line behind them quickly texting Tom and Ruth Anne to hurry because I was in line to meet Meb! Although Tom and I met him several years ago

we wanted Ruth Anne to be able to meet him and celebrate being together as Team McManus:

We finally bid our new friends farewell and took a few more photos as we walked back to our car. There were no yellow daffodils to mark the celebration of Boston Marathon weekend but there were lovely fall flowers filling the window boxes along Boylston Street:

As we headed back to our car, we reflected on the magic of the day while cheering on the runners running the Virtual Boston Marathon.
Tom took this photo of the Citgo Sign with the birds in flight seemingly inviting the runners on the course with only one mile to go to soar:
The exhilaration of a City reborn seemed to whisk away the exhaustion of the runners as they headed to the finish line.
A group of wide eyed runners stopped us on the bridge that leads to Kenmore Square.

"Which way is the course?" they asked.
We told them to go straight down  Commonwealth Avenue taking a right on Hereford Street and a left on Boylston Street pointing to my shirt for emphasis. They smiled and thanked us as they went on their way.
"Good luck" Team McManus said in unison.
The magic of Marathon Weekend concludes tomorrow as runners toe the starting line in Hopkinton. 
I've got my friends' bib numbers downloaded into the Boston Marathon app. Pre-pandemic we would get up early, go on our run and set up our chairs with a cooler for a day of cheering on everyone from elite runners to the back of the packers. We are going to track the leader board and live stream the race. When the crowds thin out, we will head out to cheer on the back of the packers when they need that extra boost.

May Boston shine brightly with magic and may everyone run safe and happy!

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness,

My books to uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon.

Visit my website to learn more about my journey of transformation in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond.

Be sure to visit my News and Events tab on my website to hear interviews that will open your heart and mind to a powerful message of healing, hope and possibilities.


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