Marathon Monday. To many, this phrase might not mean much, but here in Boston…it means everything.
the super bowl of running
For some, the Boston Marathon is the Super Bowl of running -- the goal every runner strives to achieve. For others, it’s a day to celebrate -- a major holiday where roads are closed and work is canceled. And starting early in the morning, fans spill outside to line the entire 26.2 mile course.
Last year, I joined the sideline crowd with lululemon’s cheer station on 'Heartbreak Hill' -- one of the hardest stretches of the race where runners need the most support. We arrived early, pumped music, and danced with motivational signs.
I still remember watching contestants pass by: wheelchair competitors, with flexed arms and sweat pouring. Military crew in full uniform. The amazing Kenyan, Geoffrey Mutai, on his way to win. And the very last charity runner, winning a personal battle for both himself and someone else. And I knew in this moment, “I want that.”
honoured, excited and terrified
Fast forward one year later, and I could not be more honored, excited and – let’s be honest – terrified to participate in this monumental day.
what we don't see
Because boy - I had no idea what I was in for! What spectators don't see are your struggles with chafing. They don't hear your alarm ring at 6 a.m. before sunrise on Saturday, feel your blisters growing, or watch you trekking through snow...in the dark.
That’s why the incomparable support of Boston’s sideline – from Newton to Boylston Street – now means more than ever before. It’s funny, but I’ve learned you actually do hear the things people say along the way. "You're almost there!" starts at mile six. "It's all downhill from here!" as you approach Heartbreak Hill. Or my personal favourite, "You're looking great!" Really? With spit foaming at the mouth, and salt crusting to my face, I doubt it – but hey, thanks for making me think I do!
why you should cheer on april 16
So, if you are in Boston on April 16, go stake out your spot and cheer on the runners. Because, we can train all we want and eat the right gel packs during the race, but it’s that smiling face, that crazy cheering fan, that is going to pick us up and push us forward when we think we have nothing left.
And honestly, it really doesn't matter what you do – hold a sign, hand out high-fives, or yell any ridiculous phrase. Because those small gestures mean more than you will ever know.
If you're in Boston this weekend, stop by and say hi at the pre-marathon expo! Look for a big, red box and you'll find us. Not in Boston? We'll be sharing our marathon weekend experience via Twitter (#bostonmarathon). Good luck to all the athletes, and see you on April 16!