Run Talk: Why I ❤️ The Boston Marathon

Photo: Raymond Britt

For most Americans, the third Monday in April is just another day. But for runners, it might well be a holiday. The Boston Marathon is the closest thing running has to a Super Bowl, and for good reason: to get there, you have to be good – really good – running a qualifying time at a marathon the previous year (and hoping it’s fast enough to beat out other runners in your age group for a slot).

So why do thousands of age-group runners each year strive to qualify? What’s the big deal about Boston? Those who have run it before say it’s hard to encapsulate in words – it’s simply worth the work to get there. As one runner said, the Boston Marathon is “magic.”

Still, we asked them to try to describe it. We asked past Boston finishers “Why do you love the Boston Marathon?” Their answers:

“The crowd! There was probably less than a mile’s worth of course that wasn’t lined with screaming fans.” Caitlyn Piklington

“Last year was my first Boston. It was amazing not just for the history and the route, but the numbers of fans along the whole route, and that you’re running with people the entire way. It’s big, and everyone is pretty good!” – Peter Leventis

“It’s a privilege to run the prestigious Boston Marathon – the world’s oldest annual marathon. The city is the Boston Marathon: Rows of people cheering for you for 26.2 miles, handing out ice & placing sprinklers up when it’s hot. They kept me going last year, despite the elements.” – Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez

“The magic. The young man that sat down next to me on the bus was a student at my alma mater UO. He should have finished way before me as it was we finished moments apart and met at the finish line. All of it was magic, the people, the spirit.”  – Neal Palles

“The whole city celebrates the marathon. Locals ask you about the run in the grocery store! Also, the day after, there were people outside clapping and cheering when runners would walk past them. It’s an unforgettable experience.” – Lindsay Kahn

“The history and spectators make this race!” – Sonja Pippin

“The culmination of so much hard work to BQ, train & get there. The support of the city, spectators & runners cannot be beat. It’s amazing.” – Erin Jones

“It’s like the Super Bowl & the Olympics all rolled into one. It’s the one day you’ve been training for all year, and when you’re running it, people seem to be cheering just for you, for 26.2 miles. Best party ever!” – John Young

“So many reasons: the storied history  with Heartbreak Hill, Kathrine Switzer, Johnny Kelley; the wall of sound as you round the corner on Boylson Street’ the fan support, especially at Wellesley College. For many of us, qualifying for Boston is the pinnacle of years and years of work.” – Michelle Slater

“Its more than a marathon and has so much history, amazing fans almost every mile of the route. The need to qualify adds to its prestige and your sense of pride to run and finish.” – Noel Paine

“For me, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The huge cheering crowds from start to finish, the scream tunnel at Wellesley, the final turn at Boylston and my family greeting me at the finish line. In fact, I just got my 1st tattoo at age 55 of the Boston marathon logo.” – Rob Evans

“As a spectator of this race for 10-plus years & a runner of it in 2009: the whole state has Monday off, and we LOVE cheering. Running, you can feel the whole city behind you. The “Right on Hereford Left on Boylston” roar is unlike any sound in the world – and now I’m tearing up.” – Amy Bootier

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