Race Recap: The Run to Remember, an annual race which honors fallen police officers, had special meaning this year, following the Boston Marathon bombing. Within three days of the attack, the race – which was scheduled to occur just one month after the Boston Marathon – was sold out. Fortunately we had planned for over a year to run this race and had registered on “opening day” almost a year before. As might be expected in the wake of a major terrorist attack, emotions were high and security was even higher. The race made special preparations to ensure that the start/finish area was secure, including entry to the area only after passing through an armed check-point, the removal of all garbage cans on the street and the prohibition of any backpacks/ large bags anywhere near where runners congregated. All in all, the added security was seamless and operated with an incredibly high degree of efficiency. Despite the chilly and slight wet conditions, runners eagerly listened to the pre-race announcements and even a few words of encouragement from the Chief of Police, who was the figurehead to the public during the days after the Boston Marathon bombing. After a moment of silence we were off, but the roads were so crowded with runners that the pace just had to be what everyone else was running. I would imagine this is what a school of fish, or the Pelaton in the Tour de France feels like – you really have no choice what the pace is, you just have to go with the flow. After running a few miles through the heart of the city, we began a collegiate tour along the XXX River, past Boston University, Harvard and MIT (MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was killed by the Boston Marathon bombing suspects and the race honored him by printing bibs of his badge number to wear on the back of your shirt). By this point in the race, the roads had opened up and we were able to run at our own pace and really enjoy the scenic river views. Around mile 5 we entered the MIT campus, which was lined with countless police cars parked in a neat row, full lights blaring. As we ran by the squad cars and got high fives from the police, we thought immediately about Sean Collier, who was registered to run this race. It’s really hard to describe how amazing this stretch of the course was, it was truly heartwarming. Talk about motivation to keep going! After we passed the turnaround point, we struck up a conversation with a fellow runner hoping to complete his first half marathon. We’ve paced runners before (both knowingly and unknowingly), so we were more than happy to help pace our new friend to the finish. The conversation served to distract all of us from any twinges or tweaks we were feeling and just enjoy the camaraderie of running. As we approached the final 5k we saw some flopping blonde pig-tails in front of us and knew it had to be our friend Karen – who we had first met in Palm Springs and then “run into” again in Jackson, Mississippi. It’s been an awesome journey to have these odd consistencies, even as we trek across the country we still manage to find people we know. As we circled back through downtown Boston and past Tom Brady’s condo we enjoyed the last views of the city and made the final push for the finish line.
Highlight: Running the first true road race in downtown Boston post-marathon bombing was inspiring. It’s really amazing how tragedy can bring a group of people closer together – and there’s no doubt this city is Boston Strong.
Saturday (Day 1):
The public transit system from the airport to the World Trade Center area is awful. There is a Silver Bus (free) but it is far from convenient and a complete time-waste. We’ve heard the subway system into the downtown area is great, but if you are staying in the Seaport/ World Trade area do yourself a favor and take a cab. After finally checking in at the hotel, my head cold was really beginning to hurt and the cold and raining weather didn’t help my motivation to search near and far for a lunch spot. Luckily, we found Salvatore's, which is a great little sub shop right near our hotel. I went an abnormal route and got the steak and cheese, which was smolderingly hot and super good and Kristin enjoyed a more traditional chicken salad wrap, which she raved about. Highly recommended – the subs were quite good and the pizza smelled amazing.
Knowing that we were only a few blocks away from the Harpoon Brewery, we decided to grab our umbrellas and rally for a tasting in their grand beer hall. The beer hall was a true German style space, with super long tables that everyone shared – unlike the traditional American style were everyone wants a table to themselves. We sampled a few of the brews and both decided on the IPA paired with a homemade soft-pretzel with fixings (beer cheese sauce and spicy mustard). This place is awesome, but unfortunately my cold/cough was getting the best of me and I just wanted to go back to the hotel.
On our walk back to the hotel through a heavier rainfall, we found a little deli/ mini-mart and decided to grab some made to order sandwiches and fresh baked cookies to enjoy at our leisure as we watched a movie at the hotel. My cough seemed to be getting worse, so I was just happy to just relax and try to get some sleep.
Sunday (Day 2 - Race Day):
Post-race we decided to head to a popular brunch spot – The Paramount – but unfortunately, the entire city had the same thought and we weren’t up for the 45-60 minute wait. Technology really came through as we were able to find another good breakfast option at Harvard Gardens just a short walk away and secure a table before we even arrived. We both opted for the corned beef hash with a celebratory bloody Mary. The corned beef hash was more like a traditional Irish corned beef brisket, complete with hash-browns and boiled cabbage – YUM! The bloody Mary was a bit heavy on pepper and vodka (we should have split one), but all in all we really enjoyed the post-race grub.
The Boston Marathon bombings had occurred one month prior to our trip, so unfortunately the incident was still fresh in everyone’s mind. We decided to a long walk and among other places visit the Boston Marathon bombing memorial. The most striking part of the memorial was the wall of shoes that runners had tied to the fence to show their support of those affected by the bombings. It was a very sobering experience to be standing in the place where only a month earlier all hell had broken loose.
We continued our downtown walking tour along the Freedom Trail. It was nice to walk through a number of the parks we passed during the race and get a chance to look around and enjoy the sights. After a quick photo by the historic Boston Massacre site, we walked towards the massive crowds at Faneuil Hall. Neither of us are too enthralled by crowds, so our stop at Faneuil Hall on a beautiful day was more a speed-walk past the local gathering place.The Boston Marathon bombings had occurred one month prior to our trip, so unfortunately the incident was still fresh in everyone’s mind. We decided to a long walk and among other places visit the Boston Marathon bombing memorial. The most striking part of the memorial was the wall of shoes that runners had tied to the fence to show their support of those affected by the bombings. It was a very sobering experience to be standing in the place where only a month earlier all hell had broken loose.
All that walking earned us a snack – Boston style! While the debate rages on of who make a better cannoli, from Kristin’s past experience in the North End we headed directly to Mike’s Pastry. While the line was pretty long and the price makes the desserts only an occasional treat, the chocolate dipped cannoli topped with powdered sugar was wicked awesome! Neither of us are cannoli buffs, but we can without a doubt say these are the best cannolis we have ever eaten. Don’t let the line deter you, it’s worth the wait.
Massachusetts Half Marathon Medals
May 26, 2013: Boston Run to Remember