Boston Marathon Felix Wong

Note: The 2005 edition of the race is now over, in which I was a spectator (due to still being 40 minutes away from qualifying). Photos are here!

April 18, 2005 Mon 11:00am: So today is the exciting day! Russ, Sharon, and Steve had to wake up obscenely early today (like 5:45am) to take the “T” (the subway) and then a bus to the start in Hopkinton, where they are now waiting in a corral awaiting a 12:00pm EST start. Yes, 12:00pm, meaning that they probably will have waited in the athlete village and then their respective corrals for about 3.5 hours. That’s what just about every other runner had to do too.

The weather here should be okay for running; I ran for a couple of hours this morning along Revere Beach and temperatures were about perfect at that time, though will be perhaps a tad warm by race time. Now I am back at our hotel but will be heading into the city in a couple of hours. The plan is to cheer them on at Miles 17.0 and Mile 25.5. I told them exactly where I’d be so hopefully we will see each other, esp. since I’m supposed to hand Russ off a concoction of coke & water he prepared last night at Mile 17.0!

Things are pretty nuts over here. Today is a holiday in Boston, so everyone gets the day off. The marathon is the news of the day.

By the way, anyone who wants to track the marathon in real time can do so on a number of websites, including the official Boston Marathon site (which will have all runners’ time splits), and TheBostonChannel.com.

April 19, 2005 Tue 17:30: Russ, Sharon, and Steve are right now on a plane back to San Jose and should be back in the next couple of hours and can comment on the race very soon. Right now I am having lunch in a Panera Bread (free wi-fi) somewhere east of Pittsburgh so can write a few quick notes. (Will be back in Fremont Thursday afternoon.)

  • The race was a complete zoo all day, for both racers and spectators, from the starting line to the finish and extended well into all of the subways. Never have I seen (or had to fight through) such crowds before!
  • Gail, Ann, and Joycelyn (Steve’s party) saw Steve and Russ running together at Mile 17, but unfortunately I missed them (I was on the other side of the road since I told them that’s the side of the road I’d be on next to the Mile 17 marker). It was somewhat critical since I had a concoction of Coke/water that Russ mixed the night before and was hoping I could hand off to him.
  • Sharon and I did see each other at Mile 17 though and was able to give each other a hug. She was looking good at that point.

It seems like everything became chaotic after Mile 17 though, for all of us:

  • According to Steve, Russ was somewhat in trouble and really looking forward to the Coke/water concoction I had for him at Mile 17, and a couple of miles after we missed each other, fell off the pace. Sorry, Russ… I felt like I failed you. Regardless, Russ managed to finish without walking!
  • After seeing Sharon at Mile 17, we (Gail, Ann, Joycelyn & I) went to the subway with the intention on getting to Mile 25.5 before they did. However, there were so many people we couldn’t even get on the first subway that came by, and then the second one we were standing among so many packed bodies that we felt like sardines in a sardine can. Many delays were caused by the subway doors not being able to close due to too many bodies being in the doorways!
  • When we got off the subway, it took 15 minutes just to move one block and pretty much entailed leaning on the people in front of me to get them to move. It also became apparent that it would be impossible to get to the spot (by a Trader Joe’s) where I said I’d cheer them on again, at Mile 25.5…
  • No matter though, because it looked like all three of them were going to beat us (and the subway) to the finish anyhow! Due to the crowds jamming the entire width of the sidewalks, it took about 45 minutes just to get from the Subway to the designated “Friends & Family Meeting Place” where we were to meet them…
  • However, apparently it also took Russ, Steve, and Sharon a while to walk from the finish line to the meeting spot, due to the crowds, a really long walk, and also, not exactly being the most mobile.
  • When the three of them did arrive, it sounded and looked like the three had just come back from a war! Some quotes:
    • “At the end it felt like just everyone was passing me” -Steve
    • “There was not a single flat section in the race” -Russ (I think)
    • “All I wanted to do was come, have fun, and get through the race feeling pretty good. But for the last 7 miles my quads kept cramping. It was TORTURE!” -Sharon

Meanwhile, some of the runners passed by us in borrowed wheelchairs being pushed by family members (and no, these weren’t the wheelchair marathon participants)

All I can say was I was really amazed and inspired by their efforts and was so proud of them! After that the day wasn’t even over… they still had to walk several blocks to the subway, then take an hour-long ride on the subway, and then walk back a long distance to the hotel. It was one heck of a day!

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The pre-marathon expo at the Hynes Convention Center was huge! We spent 2 hours there and could not even stop by all of the booths. (April 16, 2005)This photo was taken at Mile 17 but is pretty representative of the number of runners and size of the crowds.  I took the picture because of the guy wearing the funny hat.[Mile 17, 2:54pm] Sharon coming through, still lookin' good at this point.While walking "the long way" to the "Friends & Family" Meeting Center, I ran into Chris Zieman, the top American finisher (13th overall) at this race last year (2004).  This year he had a knee injury, but still managed to hobble all the way to the finish in respectable time.Here's Sharon, Steve, and Russ at the Friends & Family meeting place after a hard-earned race.  "It was torture!" lamented Sharon.  Joycelyn and Gail are also visible in this photo.There are finishers of marathons, and there are finishers at Boston.  Today Sharon, Steve, and Russ made the Tri-City Tri Club very proud!

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