This Race in Town People Cared About

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Skyline from Fenway

Growing up in the ‘burbs of Boston, I quickly adopted all of the local sports teams as my own. Reading the Sports page became one of my earliest hobbies, tracking the box scores, the standings, and most importantly, the statistics. Like many teenage Boston sports fans growing up in the 90s, I didn’t just watch sports, I inhaled them. Sunday mass meant I had my favorite Patriots jersey on. High school proms were spent tracking the Celts playoff game score rather than any of that other nonsense. Pedro and Nomar were heroes. All of this made sense to me as a young diehard fan.

But when the Sox played during April Vacation week, why did they always play so early on Monday? I needed to wake up early to watch on my vacation when they had 150 more to play? Who ever thought that was a good idea?

Arriving in 2003 to BC, I had a new set of college teams to add to my favorites and another Sox season to ponder that questionable April timing. Once BC hoops ended, the BC sports calendar had seemingly concluded and it was back to following the old pro teams I adopted a decade before. Then out of nowhere came the final date on all Eagles’ sports calendars. This day finally provided an explanation for why that mid-April Sox game started so damn early. There was this race in town…and people actually seemed to care about it.  Enough that they’d be willing to start the game early to catch the pack run through Kenmore Square on their way out. For BC though, this was our holiday.

On that mid-April day in 2004, I figured we’d have class. April vacation was for high schoolers. Certainly there was no reason to miss class for some road race. But hell, I’ll take it. Like any college freshman that morning, I just wanted to fit in. Going out to Comm. Ave to watch the runners go by seemed like the popular thing to do, so I did. Not because I expected it to be fun, but just because everyone else was doing it.

What I witnessed that Monday, and in the 9 Mondays since, was extraordinary passion.  Passion for this day, this race, and this city.

Marathon Monday is more than a road race. It is an embodiment of the great passion and spirit that binds all Bostonians together.

That spirit will not be taken away from us with one cowardly act.

My city is too strong for that.

(Photo via Chris Skillman)