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A Stroll in the Sunshine?

While many of you were enjoying Patriot’s Day by lounging in the sun, over 20 brave HBSers ran the 107th Boston Marathon. Running any marathon is an accomplishment, but running Boston is quite another story. It has a certain allure because you can only enter if either you qualified by running a time of 3h10 (men) or 3h40 (women) in a previous marathon, or you are running for charity. If you do not fall in either category, but you decide to run anyway, you fall into a third category, the bandits. The HBS group had some in each category!

As bandits, some of us (including me) had to wait until 20,000 official runners crossed the starting line before we could go. Half an hour later, we were all off. Everyone has there own personal marathon story. I’ve run marathons before, but none was as amazing an experience as Boston. Here is my story, mile by mile.

Mile 0: Find two HBS running goddesses with whom to run 20+ miles. Thank you Dana and Alice-you guys rock!

Mile 1: Am thankful for the clear skies, while fearing the heat.

Mile 2: Regret not writing my name on my shirt! Everyone was yelling “Go Dana” since she wrote her name on a very cool shirt (from Sweet As).

Mile 7: See one runner lead a blind runner along the course. It certainly put the challenge ahead of me in perspective.

Mile 12: Pass Wellesley College, where you hear constant screaming (the screech tunnel) for miles. Unbelievable.

Mile 13.1: Pass the half-way mark and wonder, “Do I really have another TWO HOURS TO GO?” Meanwhile, the elite runners are already done and are enjoying their deep tissue massages.

Mile 16: Little kids give out the ice that keeps me from passing out.

Mile 20: HEARTBREAK HILL. They call it that for a good reason. For me it is cruel-and-unusual-punishment hill, especially since the first psychological half mile 1-20, and the rest is still to come.

Mile 21: Walk because of my severe leg cramps. Start talking to a woman who is in the same condition and we walk together for the next two minutes until she pushes me to run again. Feel better, and am able to run the rest of the course before completely tightening up. Her name, I’m not kidding, is Angel. She saved me.

Mile 24: See and hear Laurent and Chris. Laurent passes out sliced oranges to all HBSers that pass by. Thanks for your support-you are awesome!

Mile 25: See the CITGO sign. I am never happier to see it, and for me it means: CARRY IT THROUGH, GO ON, it’s almost over!

Mile 26: See the finish line and sprint for it by sheer will. Well, not quite sprinting. Hobbling quickly is more accurate.

Mile 26.2: Finished. Honestly, there is no other feeling like this one.

Mile 27: Collapse into Missi and Susan’s arms. A million thanks.

Overall, it was the LOUDEST, best-supported, best-serviced marathon I’ve run. It was an unforgettable experience. To reach the finish line in a marathon is quite an achievement; only about one-tenth of 1 percent of the population does it. If you see your classmates limping along, they will be hurting for a few more days, but they are on the road to recovery.

April 28, 2003
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