This Memorial Day weekend, my husband Jeff and I drove to Vermont so I could run the Vermont City Marathon.
We spent a few days beforehand exploring Boston to celebrate Jeff’s upcoming birthday.
We hit all of the Boston essentials: we walked the Freedom Trail, had a drink at Cheers, saw a Red Sox game (they retired Wade Boggs’ jersey number 26), and found the Boston Marathon Finish line! We ate lots of chowdah and lobstah too.
The Bull and Finch Pub, the inspiration for the Cheers TV neighborhood bar. Where everybody knows your name…
The U.S.S. Constitution. The copper fittings were also provided by Paul Rivere.Runner’s Mecca. And perhaps the only time I’ll ever touch the Boston Marathon Finish Line. Unless I can run for a charity. One day….
We also visited Salem, Massachusetts to learn about the witch trials. And to eat more chowder. ..
I guess he’s stuck with me now!
Delicious Lobster Roll
Tombstone of a Mayflower Pilgrim Wynott’s Wand Shop, a bewitching Harry Potter style shop that deals exclusively in handcrafted wands. The shopkeeper made it a fun and interesting must-see boutique!
We then drove to Burlington, Vermont, a beautiful city on Lake Champlain. Burlington is known for its craft beer, farmers markets, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Bernie Sanders was mayor here prior to his Congressional term.
The race began at 8 AM at Battery Park and winded through neighborhoods, along highways with views of the Green Mountains, and through the Burlington Parkway, a lovely wooded bike path full of woodland creatures (this was the first race where a raccoon crossed my path!).
All week, the temperatures had been rising. The race organizers could not start the race early, but instead added misting stations, ice stations, and encouraged the neighborhood spectators to provide additional water. They also increased the course time limit to 6:30.
At mile 5, one water station had already run out of water. Things weren’t looking good…
At 86 degrees with high humidity, the race directors were forced to make the tough decision to call the race after 4.5 hours. There had been many heat related injuries, and ambulances were at their max capacity. I was already at mile 19 when a volunteer told us that the race course was closing, and that we could proceed at our own risk. We were told that we’d still get finisher medals (and possibly a finish time) at the Waterfront Park finish line if we kept going. She warned us that we would not receive any more aide along the course.
Being the stubborn marathoner that I am, I decided to continue the distance, along with many of the Marathon Maniacs that were running near me.
Many volunteers chose to continue passing out water and ice, along with many Good Samaritan neighbors in front of their homes.
When I reached the Waterfront bike path, with only a few miles to go, the fire department came through and told me that they were also closing the waterfront (and the path?) due to thunderstorm warnings. I was so close, and I wanted that medal, so I continued on.
Upon reaching the Waterfront Park, I found that the fire department had ordered the race directors to close the finish line, and only the medical tent was open. There were no medals, no cheering spectators, and no final timing pad, even though I’d finished in the 6.5 hour limit. I was very, very disappointed. But I was proud of myself for finishing the distance. I did everything in my power to finish the race safely. In my heart, this race still qualifies as a Vermont marathon finish.
Don’t worry, I drown my sorrows in organic food, Zero Gravity beer and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
Monday, I learned that race directors chose to only allow the sub-4:30 finishers to have an official clock time. They are also mailing the finisher medals out to participants.
Overall, the race course was beautiful and avoided most hills. The spectators were phenomenal. I can’t speak to the finishers’s medals, the post race food, or booths, as I didn’t see any… But the volunteers who stayed out on the course, in the humidity and the heat, hours after they had “called it”, just so I could have water and finish my race made all of the difference in the world to me. Thank you to all of the volunteers and each race supporter! You guys are the best!
Also, to my loving husband of six months, two days shy of his 35th birthday, stuffy with sinus cold and seasonal allergies, who walked and ran to me all over the course with Gatorade, pickles and sweet Maple treats, I could not have done this without you! I’m so glad I have you by my side! Thank you for your support for this and every race!