This is the soundslide from my Charles River Cleanup project:
Monday, April 27, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
I am having a lot of fun at the marathon but most of the people left here are waiting for specific friends and family. One of the reasons I like Boston so much is traditions like this marathon. It's wonderful to see a whole city get so excited about such a positive experience for so many people. This spot in particular, close to the end but not at the finish line was still packed with people who didn't know anyone in the race but just wanted to cheer the runners on. That's nice, I like that. "I've been doing this every year for over a decade," Greg, a fan sitting in a lawn chair with a large sign spelling out "Finish Strong," in his arms tells me. "This is Boston at it's best." I have to agree with the sentiment. And having the day off from class is a nice bonus too, even for us students who didn't start drinking at nine in the morning.
It's all over bar the shouting in many ways. While still crowded, there are signs people are beginning to leave. "It's fun but people are going to run by for a long time and I already saw my friend go by just now," James, a man carrying a fast asleep little boy informs me. Coming upon another group of college students who also appear to be heading out, I ask them what they will do with the rest of their day off. "Party," three of them say in unison. As crazy as the day was, the night will be comparable to St. Patrick's Day or Halloween. "Only without wearing green or skimpy costumes," Denise, one of the girls, tells me. She wears a bright blue shirt and running pants with "Adam," the name of her boyfriend who just finished the race, written on her forearm in blue paint, and an expression devoid of irony.
In terms of the race, I just found out all the big finishes are done. All the people running by me now do so in large groups. It's more of a large continuous stream now. While of course it's amazing the speed with which the winners completed the marathon. I personally admire this group because while they may not be moving as quickly they are traveling longer in terms of time spent between start and finish. Since apparently none of them are listening to music (except for the band playing marching tunes on the platform nearby) they basically have nothing to do for hours but listen to people yelling at them while their knees and lungs join in louder with every mile. Hours and hours of that and they keep going. No wonder people cheer them on.
Not far from Julia and Jason my nose informs me of a new scent, out of place amid the scene of fit and in shape people, beer. Following my nose I now see a small cluster of college-age boys and girls, and it's not Gatorade in those plastic cups. I went up to them and asked what their story is. One of the girls, Linda said that she is a senior at Boston College and it is a tradition to get up early and drink all day on the day of the marathon. This is my first time in Boston for the marathon so I had not heard of this and ask her to elaborate. "It's a big party day, like St. Patrick's Day," she tells me. Her friend Jake offered me a cup but I decline since I'm working, not to mention 1 pm is a littler early for alcohol for me.
As I walk further along Coolidge Corner, I can see people all along the windows of some of the apartment buildings looking down at the race and cheering from their privileged vantage point. Personally I'd rather be down here, it's much more fun," says Julia, one of the bystanders, when I ask her opinion of those high up viewers. "They're probably more comfortable though," says her husband Jason. I have to agree with his wife, it's much more fun this close.
The Starbucks at Coolidge Corner is rarely empty, but today the line stretches out the door for more than just the morning rush. Caffeine is fueling much of the excitement of people watching to judge from the line, as well as the steaming cups held in hands up and down the course here. "I've been traveling down the course to cheer on my friend Dan," says Laura. "This helps keep my energy up." The baristas are starting to look like they are the ones running a marathon. Their crowd doesn't cheer though, just orders another espresso shot.
"I can't wait till my sister gets here." shouts one young woman to her friend through the roar of the group pressed against the yellow rope. One wheelchair racer stands out even as he blurs by. His locomotion comes from hand pedals not unlike a bike rather than more traditional pushing. All of the wheelchair racers use tri wheeled machines that look like speed condensed to solid form