It’s Patriot’s Day in Boston – The 117th Running of the Boston Marathon

“Move like a jellyfish, Rhythm is nothing, You go with the flow, You don’t stop.” – Joe Jackson

The finish line at the 109th Boston Marathon on Boylston Street in 2005.

The finish line at the 109th Boston Marathon on Boylston Street in 2005.

The pace of life has been picking up speed recently, so much so that the 117th running of the Boston Marathon snuck up on me. When I met my running team this morning on Broad Street in downtown Philly, I was reminded that Morgan was in Boston to run the storied 26.2 mile course, and I got this sudden urge to post something.

In past years I’d written an article that appeared in my local newspaper the Bucks County Herald that began: “Christians travel to Rome to visit the Vatican, Hindus go to India to submerge in the Ganges River, and Muslims journey to Mecca to celebrate the Hajj.  Runners go to Boston to run the marathon. There is no ritual more venerated by a runner than the Boston Marathon.”

It seems like last year that I ran Boston, but it was eight years ago. My mom always said the older you get the faster time goes; man, was she right. I trained to qualify a few years later and missed by six minutes, an eternity waiting in a supermarket check-out line but only 13.8 seconds per mile when running a marathon. I hadn’t planned to run Boston a second time, but my daughter was going to grad school and living on Commonwealth Avenue, right on the corner of the marathon course. Well, he Pops wasn’t one of the roughly 20,000 runners who ran past her apartment that year.

The only pair of running shoes I never trashed--the shoes that covered the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon

The only pair of running shoes I never trashed–the shoes that covered the 26.2-mile course at the Boston Marathon.

Regardless, I have a lifetime of Boston Marathon memories–the partying bikers at TJs at mile two (it was too early in the race to join them,) an Elvis impersonator who ran along side me for about a quarter-mile, the female student body of Wellesley College eager for a kiss (none of them were interested in this sweaty old guy,) a short, stocky older gentleman who passed me on Heartbreak Hill, high-fiving and chest-bumping a bunch of young guys at the top of Heartbreak, the fans lining Commonwealth Avenue handing out orange slices, bananas, water, beer, juice and Jell-O shots, the crazies from Red Sox Nation down the street from Fenway, and turning onto Boylston Street to the deafening crowd. The entire race, and my journey to qualify, is described in Twenty-four Years to Boston, which will be published by St. Johann Press this year.

Yes, it’s Patriots Day in Boston, a day Bostonians have perfected during the course of the past 117 years.


About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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4 Responses to It’s Patriot’s Day in Boston – The 117th Running of the Boston Marathon

  1. drmikebda says:

    Dear Jim, Great to hear those stories again. Thank you for sharing. Uncle Mike


    • Jim Brennan says:

      Uncle Mike, so glad you stopped by. If you like these stories, you’ll love the follow-up book that has the Bermuda Marathon in it. Now that was some story! Maybe it will even take in the hike in County Monaghan and Tony the postman.


  2. Jim, I am about to retire my first ‘real’ pair of running shoes and purchase my next pair. While they didn’t carry me through a marathon, they are responsible for launching me into the second half of my life. They’ve endured nearly 400 miles of pounding the pavement; two 5K’s, a 10K and a half. I think I’ll take a page from the Jim Brennan book of inspiration and save them.

    As always, great post.


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