For the better part of the last 8 years, I have had the privilege and pleasure of working the Boston Marathon. It was mostly due to my working at hotels, and I absolutely loved the excitement that was in the air. Following, I will highlight each year that I worked during this amazing time in our great city.
The start of my experience was actually farther out from the finish line. For this marathon, I was working at the Intercontinental Hotel. Some of the runners stayed with us, and I vividly remember the looks on the faces of runners coming back (exhaustion and pride). We had towels and water bottles for them, as well as cheered them on. This was also the year where one of my shirts ran the marathon! A guest from Germany approached me to say that she forgot to bring a shirt to run in. Rather than direct her to a store, I asked if she would be OK if I lent her one of my tech shirts. She happily accepted and David brought one in when he picked me up. That was one of the parts that I loved about my job.
This is where I was really up close and personal. I began working at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in late 2010, and they are the main hub for the Boston Athletic Association. I was surrounded by elite runners and members of the BAA organization. This is truly where my love for the marathon started to grow.
This year, I was a bit more involved in helping the B.A.A., mainly when it came to helping them pass out information to the elite runners. The hotel was also the site for all of the press conferences and the awards banquets. And this was also the year that I met some amazing athletes: Katherine Switzer, Alberto Salazar, and Ernst Van Dyk.
I was even able to grab a VIP pass to check out the finish line. This was before the runners came in; I was watching some of the wheelchair athletes.
I wrote this post, on April 16. I had left the Fairmont earlier that year, and I was working for Tillinger’s, who also operates the Back Bay Event Center.
There really aren’t any words that can describe what I’m feeling right now.
Thankfully, I wasn’t at the finish line, but I was 2 blocks from there, working at the John Hancock building. Our site was the location of the massage therapists and some medical assistance. Because of the construction of our building, I did not hear or feel anything. It wasn’t until someone came in and said to me that a bomb went off at the finish line. After hearing this news, I cannot begin to tell you how calm and professional everyone was being. Inside I felt like I should run and hide. But we all remained calm and had everyone evacuate and then we were put on lock down. We also got ready, in case the medical staff would be needed. But it never came to that. We did a complete sweep of the building and the next three hours were spent glued to the live stream coverage on the computers.
Cell towers were jammed and I couldn’t make any calls. Thankfully we had some landlines available and I was able to call David, my mom and my grandmother. And I got on Facebook to let everyone know that I was OK. Obviously shaken up, but fine.
The sound of sirens and helicopters was deafening. I couldn’t believe that just a few minutes prior, we were congratulating runners and escorting them to a much deserved massage. Now, we were watching people evacuate from the streets around the building.
I never saw, first hand, what was happening at the finish line, but I could feel it. I felt like I was attacked as a Bostonian, but even more, as a runner. I couldn’t stop thinking about Shelby, who had finished just moments before the first explosion. I also had a co-worker who was standing near the site of the first blast just 15 minutes prior to it going off.
After working the marathon for the past three years, I can’t imagine how it’s going to be next year. I know it’s going to be different. But I know that our resilience, and our pride in our city and our marathon, will prevail.
All of my thoughts and prayers are with those that have been injured or who have lost their lives. It’s a somber day in the Back Bay. It’s eerily quiet…
This year I was actually between jobs, so I was able to go and watch the marathon. My good friend Bianca and I met up, and it could not have been a more perfect day. We made it through the checkpoints and watched as Meb Keflezighi came out of the tunnel on Commonwealth, before turning onto Hereford. Wow. What an absolutely amazing thing to watch. Not only was it a comeback year for the race, the BAA and the runners, but it was also the first time an American had won the race since 1983.
Back to work I go! This time, it was at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. I don’t have any pictures from this year, but I do remember working the concierge desk with my colleague Amy. We were extremely busy with runners asking how to get to the shuttles and spectators asking the best way to be able to see their loved ones and friends. This year was very similar to today’s weather, too: cold and rainy. We had warm towels available to the runners and they seemed very appreciative of the thoughtful gesture. We also enjoyed cheering them on as they entered the lobby.
This ended up being my last year working the marathon. It was around this time that I was promoted to the Executive Assistant position. It was me and Amy again this year, and of course, we had a great time. The atmosphere during race time is always a positive and uplifting one. That’s probably why I absolutely love the running community. I still have grand thoughts of running the marathon but it’s still a few years off.
In 2017, I was a week out from giving birth, and the traffic is always a pain getting in to the city, so my boss had me stay home. I had the live stream on, watching the runners come in. And this year, I am also working from home. I do plan on live streaming it again.
To anyone running this year, especially my co-worker AnnMarie and fellow blogger Teri, I hope that the rain is steady and that the wind is at your back!
Happy Marathon Monday!!
Quick fun fact: Marathon Monday didn’t exist until almost 50 years ago. Prior to that, the race was always held on April 19th, Patriots Day (the day the Revolutionary War started). In the late 60s, it was decided that the race would be held on the third Monday in April in order to make it easier in terms of scheduling and getting the marathon up and running each year. <—I didn’t know this until just recently!