For those of us who are accustomed solo runs down Montana highways scattered with mountain homes and wild animals, “the Boston” was like another world.
“The most surprising thing about ‘the Boston,’ for me, was the experience of getting into line to get on the buses to the start. As Chris Everett and I stood in line to get on the buses at Boston Commons, we were in hysterics at never having seen a line ‘worm around’ the length of ‘the convoluted shoreline of the State of California,’” Sally Russell said.
A cool wind made the 44 degree morning feel like the 30s. After enduring a 50-minute shuttle to the starting area, those participants who were smart enough to bring plastic bags to sit on avoided the grass soaked by an inch of rain from the previous day.
So began the 2011 Boston Marathon.
After experiencing the crowded expo, a runner knew what to expect during the three-hour wait for the race start: long porta-potty lines. Fortunately, the sun was shining and one had 25,000 people from around the world to keep them company while waiting in line.
“When we got to the athletic village, we immediately got in line for the porta-potties, and jumped right back in line a second time just in time to begin positioning ourselves for the corrals,” Russell said.
Unbelievably, some members of the Missoula training group met another Missoulian, Tom Simones, while waiting in line.
Marshaling 25,000 people to a start line that is located .7 miles away from the athlete’s village was a process, but when a race 115 years old, the process is well-organized. As friends separated, wishing each other last-minute encouragements before entering their corrals, runners faced a surreal moment, realizing that a lifelong goal was about to be fulfilled.
“At the start, you were so close to fellow runners that you could feel the adrenaline flowing from one person to another as we all jockeyed for space,” Ashley Schroeder said.
Nerves and the realization that the beginning of the hard-trained for race was finally starting with the crowded procession down narrow roads was an emotional moment.
“The energy was intoxicating,” Liv Fetterman said.
The roads were so packed it made it difficult to get into the early water stops. Runners were constantly passing one another. The crowds were steady for the first 12 miles.
“The best thing about the race was the crowds. It was awesome hearing people yell ‘Go Montana!’ so often,” Tammy Mocabee said. Before mile 13, the course passed the all-women’s Wellesley College. At least a quarter mile away from the college, the noise from the renowned “Scream Tunnel” began. Women lined the course screaming and urging runners to kiss them. At press time it could not be confirmed how long it took J.B. Yonce to run through the Scream Tunnel. This was the beginning of spectators cheering at a deafening pitch. Tim Mosbacher complained, “It was too loud; I just wanted them to stop.”Others were motivated to run even faster. “The cheering crowds all along the race course urging you on were fantastic. It is still unbelievable to me that they were still there three hours after the elite runners had gone past!” Chris Everett said.
The next 13 miles would be the challenging section of the course. The Newton Hills were a series of four hills that had the potential to wipe out a runner. Historically, these are the make-or-break miles. 2011 would be no different as the men’s and women’s elite lead packs were substantially reduced after the final hill, known as Heartbreak Hill.
“The hardest part was the hills. I felt like I took it easy on the downhill, but by the time I got to the top of Hearbreak Hill, my quads were shot. [Regardless,] I would definitely consider doing it again.” Mocabee said.After the hills, the course took the runners into Boston. Runners were funneled through screaming crowds and intoxicated university students. If the hills weren’t so painful, one might even enjoyed it.
“Those last few miles look easy on paper -- slight downhill -- but for me and for many others they were very tough. My goal the last few miles was simply not to stop regardless of my pace. Anyone who has qualified should make the effort to go and run it and find out for themselves how special finishing the Boston Marathon is,” Everett said.
Boston landmarks, including Fenway Park and a large Citgo sign, appear and then disappear. The course turns up a block-long hill, and then turns down the final finish stretch.
“The trip was special because of my wife -- cheering madly --and son -- running me in the last five --being present and the neat group of friends that made the trip fun! Plus all the support from those back home,” Dean Lipp said.
“I’ll never forget Monique [Krebsbach] running alongside the greenway, ringing her cowbell cheering for me. She had taken a pedicab a mile or so from the Finish to cheer me on. She was running along, very fast, and then would stop to text and then run again calling out my name,” Russell said.
“The Boston Marathon honestly may have been the best day of my life,” Fetterman said.
So what is it about this marathon that sets it apart from others?“There is a sense of accomplishment in making a Boston Marathon qualifying time. However, despite my initial thoughts, I've found that finishing the Boston Marathon has meant so much more,” Everett said. “It is not your pace that counts, it is getting to the end and finishing the Boston Marathon.”
-Compiled by Tim Mosbacher and Ashley Schroeder
Boston/Spring Marathon Training Group Wrap-up
The winter marathon training group ended in remarkable fashion with half of the sixteen members of the training group who completed a spring marathon finishing with new PRs. Training for a spring marathon has many weather hurdles and this year was no exception. This is a great training group that aids in training over the winter with the goal of completing a spring marathon. Join us next year!
The Boston Marathon
Tim Mosbacher 2:58:24 PR
Brian Fruit 2:59:14
Dean Lipp 3:01:28
Tom Simones 3:02:13 PR
Tim Brooker 3:07:08
Ashley Schroeder 3:21:58 PR
Liv Fetterman 3:28:19 PR
Dale Reese 3:32:18
JB Yonce 3:33:52 PR
Sara Stahl 3:39:44
Tammy Mocabee 4:01:30
Jen Revis-Siegfried 4:05:18
Maria Stokstad 4:11:43
Chris Everett 4:15:51 PR
Sally Russell 4:44:55
The Eugene Marathon
Patrick Murphy 2:39:38 PR
Trish Miller 2:54:00 PR
Julie Gilchrist 3:17:07
Bridgett Moriarty 3:57:50
The Paris Marathon
Danelle Gjetmundsen 3:39:17 PR