Happy Friday! As per usual I’m joining Cynthia and Courtney for the Friday Five. This and next week are “Free Friday’s” so link up with us on a topic of your choice! As you may know I was in Boston last weekend running the B.A.A. 5K and spectating the Boston Marathon. It was an amazing weekend of running, friends and FUN (ignoring of course the delayed flight back to DC, getting home at 2 am and the painful suffering of allergies all week).
In any case, while I enjoy traveling and racing, spectating races brings a different kind of feeling. One of my favorite running related quotes is from Katherine Switzer: “If you’re losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” Well I did Katherine, and enjoyed every second of it! Here are 5 reasons why I think runners and non-runners alike should spectate a marathon:
The feeling of community. As individuals we all have our own different interests and experiences. Not everyone likes to run and not all runners want to be marathoners. Being a spectator for the 120th Boston Marathon alongside hundreds of people clapping, cheering, high-fiving random strangers and rooting for friends brought us all together. Knowing we were all there for the same purpose was heartwarming and exciting. I couldn’t do anything else but smile for the entire day.
It’s inspiring. A few weeks ago during the April Fools 7K, Kristy said to us that the thing she loves about running is that runners come in all shapes and sizes. On the course I saw the elite, the qualifiers, charity runners, mobility impaired runners and each and every one put in the work to get them from start to finish. I teared up so many times seeing the look on people’s faces as they pushed themselves to limits unknown. Some looked strong, some looked hurt or in pain but one thing is clear, they all were still in it and no doubt on their way to personal victory.
To support friends and family. Runners dedicate many weeks and months to training for a marathon, sacrificing mornings, nights out and fun time. Boston as the holy grail of marathons requires even more because of its qualifying standards. Spectating is such a selfless act but one of the best forms of encouragement you can do for the people you know and love. You never know if seeing your sign, cheers or smile is just what your runner needs to pick themselves up in that moment and keep going.
You’re witnessing history. In the case of Boston it was the 120th running of the race and 50th anniversary of women running in it. Each runner has their own story for being there and as a spectator you are witnessing their triumph. Whether it’s someone’s first or 20th marathon, Boston Qualifying marathon, first marathon after surgery, illness or injury – every marathon is a mark for that individual that you have a chance to see.
It’s FUN! Spectating is almost a sport in and of itself. I knew who I wanted to try and see so looked up bib numbers, got to Mile 19 at a certain time, chatted it up with everyone around me, cheered for the athletes I didn’t even know and was able to see everyone on my list. I had a BALL!
What was the last race you spectated?