If you’re reading this column, I don’t need to remind you that the 117th Boston Marathon takes place on Monday. Even if you’re not running in the event, you’ve no doubt seen or read about it in recent weeks.
Personally, the Boston Marathon has meant different things to me over the years.
In the early to mid-’90s I wasn’t a runner, so the marathon seemed like more of a freakish endurance test that made no sense to me. I was all about going to the annual late morning Red Sox game on Patriots Day, having a few beverages and then hanging out in Kenmore Square to cheer on the marathon runners as they rambled through the final mile or so of the race.
A few years later, I was more interested in the marathon because my then-girlfriend (now wife) was running the race. I had begun running 5Ks by this point, but I still thought people who ran marathons were crazy — although standing on Boylston Street waiting for Deb and watching the runners go by, I wondered if I could ever run 26.2 miles. That musing was quickly brushed aside as foolishness after I saw a runner cross the finish line and immediately get ill.
Eventually, as I began to run longer distances, I grew to embrace that foolish thinking. And in 2002 I ran my first marathon — which of course was Boston.
As far as first marathons go, it went about as well as I could have hoped. The weather was cool and cloudy and I reveled in the sights and sounds. A year later I ran Boston again, but struggled with the warm, humid temperatures that had me dehydrated and hobbled for the last several miles. It wasn’t fun.
In subsequent years, I opted to do different marathons, figuring that I’d had enough of the hills and the unpredictable weather of Boston. In 2006, I was a spectator again as my wife ran the race.