Boston Marathon

Club members Raymond and Susie recently tied the knot, and celebrated as any good running couple should, with a trip to a far away marathon. Here’s their full report:

The Boston marathon was on Monday 20 April, with the build-up kicking off in earnest the previous Friday with our wedding.

Conscious of the endurance benefits of alcohol me and the best man squeezed in a couple of sneakies at a windowless pub in Garscube Road to calm our nerves prior to the ceremony. Susie claims not to have troubled the champagne beforehand but even I know that it beggars belief that she married me sober.

After the ceremony – and some obligatory stretching shots outside the ski centre – the carb-loading continued inside the House for an Art Lover with both grape and barley energy drinks.

As the night wore on there was time for a final pre-marathon session: 1 x tango (warm up); 3 x Strip the Willow (tempo) @ 2 pints recovery; Gay Gordons / Dashing White Sergeant / St. Bernard’s waltz (continuous loop); Auld Lang Syne (cool down). 

Experienced marathoners will appreciate that this is all textbook stuff.

Shamelessly hawking our newly-wed status at check-in the following day earned us an upgrade to club class and a passport to the BA executive lounge at Heathrow. There we were surrounded by a dizzying array of complimentary fine foods and drink. Susie retained her dignity whilst I treated it as an against-the-clock all you can eat/drink buffet. Once on the flight the hospitality continued in the same vein. By mid-Atlantic I felt like a goose being fattened for foie gras.

Having registered at the expo on the Sunday – and given our livers a well-earned rest – it was up at around 5am on race day to wolf down some contraband porridge and head off to the start. The Boston marathon is a point to point race and so fleets of yellow school buses left central Boston from 6am to get all 26,000 runners out to the town of Hopkinton in time for the 10am start. The organisation was superb. The only downside was that once at Hopkinton there was the grim prospect of hanging around for a couple of hours in a field that doubles as the high school sports ground. It was a bit like T in the Park but without the neds.

New England can be pretty cold at that time of year. You could tell the Boston veterans: they were the ones with thermals, bivvy bags and tents. Susie wasn’t too badly off with her bella hoodie and a couple of tops. I’d taken one look at the early morning blue sky from our hotel room window and figured that a vintage men’s health 10k T-shirt would be more than enough. Whilst I sought refuge in a portaloo Susie managed to cadge a few spare bin liners that proved just about enough to stave off hypothermia.

The race itself was unforgettable. It’s a tough up and down course that leaves your quads feeling pretty beat up. Still with more than half a million spectators lining every inch of the course – from the packed pavements of Hopkinton to the screaming girls of Wellesly college at mile 14 to the grandstands of the finish straight – there’s just no way that your not going to keep going. The club colours went down well too with enthusiastic shouts of “Go Bella-Houston! Go Texas!”

Ever the romantic, Susie and I ran it together…. and ever the competitor I dipped her on the line by a second. From just married to married just in 3 hours 39 minutes. Fantastic!