Journal # 15: View from the Hereford Street

In a small rented apartment in Boston downtown, not far from the marathon finish line, we woke up on April 16th, 2018 with excitement to witness our last race as residents of this downtown apartment. It is quite expensive to live in the downtown, and the past 3 years have been too good to be true. Other than the view, being able to witness one of Boston’s dearest events just outside the building, was one of the reasons why we love this apartment. But, our love affair with this apartment had to end sometime.

Unlike most other marathons, Boston marathon does not have a loop trail. The trail starts about 23 miles away in an area called Hopkinton. Towards the end of the race, the runners run on Commonwealth Avenue, turn a right on Hereford Street, run about 200 feet on Hereford, turn a left on Boylston Street and run to the finish line. Hereford Street is part of the last mile of the race. It’s among the toughest parts of the race because it’s uphill and for an athlete who has completed about 22 miles, to push themselves up this elevation is brutal!

We woke up on the 16th April 2018 excited to walk to the finish line and see and cheer for some world-class athletes from arms-length away. At around 10.00 we left our house. Commonwealth Avenue, where our building is, was clear. It was cold, rainy and windy, but the excitement was taking over our unhappiness with the weather. This is one day we can walk right in the middle of commonwealth avenue, which is otherwise quite crowded. There were not many spectators when we left our house, and there were metal barricades along the race course and many cops and checkpoints. We decided to be along this Hereford street to cheer at the top of our voices while the athletes try to push themselves along this road, and so we walked towards the intersection of Hereford Street and Boylston street.

We strategically chose to stand on the left side of Hereford street, closer to Boylston street because the athletes bear left when they are turning left. Our position would allow us to see the front of the athletes while they come along Hereford street, and also closer as they would bear left before turning on Boylston. The weather conditions were getting worse and worse – terrible conditions for the athletes. As we waited, we were starting to feel the cold now as the wind was pushing water from all corners of our jackets and boots and our clothes were soaking wet already. I decided to not wear my gloves because I wanted to be ready to whip out my phone to take pictures.

The race course was empty but for a few fluorescent jacket cops and people occasionally crossing the road with the permission of the cop. The cops look intimidating and friendly at the same time. There was a lady cop on the other side of us, and there was a male cop with glasses on our side. Every time I saw him, I kept wondering how his glasses were not fogging because of the cold and the rain. I was taking the support of the metal barricade while I leaned in to see if the first wave of differently-abled athletes turned onto Hereford street.

There were not many spectators as we hoped to see, most probably because of the awful weather.

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