On Monday 17 April 2023 I took part in the Boston Marathon. This is the second year I have been lucky enough to get a place at Boston Marathon. I spent years on the road to Boston, trying to gain a Boston Qualifier. I was able to achieve this for a place in Boston Marathon 2022, which was the once in a lifetime race. You can check out my race review HERE. We loved it so much that when I realised my time qualified me for 2023 as well, it was an opportunity too good to miss, so I’m back. This is an extra special race as it is the 10th anniversary of the Boston Bombing (#BostonStrong). There is so much love and support from everyone in Boston right now. If you are on your journey for your World Marathon Majors Six Star medal, take a look at my review of the Majors. Having completed Boston Marathon twice now, I would pick up a second six star medal if I was able to run Tokyo Marathon again.
I am completing a bumper challenge this year in order to raise money for Cancer Research. My aim is to run 26 marathons in 62 weeks, which is an average of 1 Marathon every 2 weeks, for a whole year. Having completed 10 marathons in 10 days already this month, Boston Marathon was my 11th Marathon in April 2023, and my 16th marathon of 2023. That brings me to a grand total of 131 marathons, 24 World Marathon Majors finishes.
Boston Marathon weekend
My family were all so excited to come back to Boston. We are very lucky to be able to come on these amazing trips. We are careful with our money and use what we have to make amazing memories full of great experiences. Unfortunately, on the first night, Benjamin became unwell, which meant that he could not enjoy the first day, spending most of it in the hotel. We made the most of it, though, adapting our plans so that he could recover, and we didn’t let it spoil our holiday. On day one, I went to the Expo alone. This took away some of the stressful rushing around, allowed me to get in and out of the expo quicker, and gave my family a bit of extra time in the morning to relax and get ready. It worked out perfectly, as they met me a little later. It was such a hot couple of days for the first 2 days that we didn’t want to stay out too much anyway.
Boston Marathon Expo and village 2023
I was a little sad heading off to the expo without my family, and we had planned a nice breakfast first. But I knew that the expo was the part of the holiday which was more of a chore for the family, so I used it as an opportunity to get around quicker and be present quicker for my family. I arrived at the expo 30 minutes before it opened, and I was allowed inside to join a relatively short queue. When I left the expo it was queued back all the way out and around the building, by getting there when I did, I just waited 30 minutes for the expo to open and then I was straight in with no queues. This probably saved hours.
There wasn’t a queue to get my bib, the quickest process, where I received my bib and race tee with ease. I then went through the dangerous adidas zone. I say it is dangerous because it is so difficult to get through without losing all your money on merchandise. I got myself a jacket and spike, and because it was so hot outside and I hadn’t packed a vest to wear, I purchased a vest I could wear.
I then had a quick look around the rest of the expo. Highlights were sampling Sam Adams, and I also purchased a race day bundle from Maurten. After that there was not a lot of things of interest at the Expo. I was happy to look around quickly, and get out before it got too busy.
After I finished the Expo, I went to the event village and took part in lots of free games and giveaways. I also went to the adidas tent to get my free patch ironed on to my jacket. It was good to get there before queues began to build. Shortly after my family joined me. We played a few games together before going for lunch. We had a relatively early night which was exactly what my boy needed to recover a little bit.
Jamaica Pond Parkrun and Red Sox
Saturday morning was parkrun day. I would have entered my boy and I into the 5k race, but he is too young for entry. We decided to just go and do parkrun. I was really looking forward to running with my boy in Boston, but he was still too unwell to be able to manage a 5k race.
Running alone meant I ran slightly faster, but I didn’t want to push too hard. Not only was this a shake out run, but it was also the first run since I finished my 10 marathons in 10 days earlier in the week. I finished in a respectable 21:37 at 51st place and enjoyed the 2 laps of Jamaica Pond.
I finished with my girl, and felt strong. Next stop it was time for Ice-cream which we had been looking forward to since last time. We were all able to enjoy the Ice-cream despite Benjamin not having his full appetite.
We enjoyed the day having a little shop and found lots of new prime flavours that Benjamin has been wanting to try. Before going for a lovely pre-game meal at the Cask n Flagon. We met up with some friends to enjoy food, far too many beers for pre marathon, and a great Red Sox game.
Red Sox won… Let’s Go Red Sox…
Sunday was a super chilled day. A big breakfast, lots of walking around. A beer at Sam Adams and cake from Mike’s Pastries. I then had an early night and ordered takeaway pizza. Partly to save energy, and partly because Benjamin started to feel unwell again and just wanted to rest. Not what I wanted for him this holiday, but we have done everything possible for him to have a good time.
Boston Marathon 2023
It was an early start, having to leave my hotel just after 5:00. I made my way to the start, straight to bag drop, and there was a toilet opposite with no queue. The way numbers are positioned, my school bus to drop my bag was right on the corner, meaning it would be easy to get to when I finished. The majority of runners take part because of time qualification. Our bib numbers are ordered based on the finishing time you qualified with, so wave and position are determined by speed. That is except for runners who received entry in any other way, such as charity, sports tours, etc. They all start in the yellow wave at the end. Unfortunately, there is no opportunity to run according to your finish time if you don’t get a qualification entry.
Then I waited for my bus loading at 6:45. We all get on yellow school buses to the start. As the first wave, we have the longest wait at the start. But this is balanced by getting the shortest queues and most space. It was a long wait, and it was very foggy at the start. I went to the toilet before it got busy and sat on the floor in the tent, waiting to be allowed to the start line.
It was cold and a little wet. My race strategy was to start at 8 min miles and see how close I could stick to 3:30, with 4 hours being the point I really wanted to be under. Boston is a rolling course, and no matter what anyone says about the start being easier and the hills later on, it feels like you are constantly up and down.
I ran with Alex for the first 10 miles, and we were on pace averaging around 07:59 min miles. I started to slow a little, and Alex went on. I slowed partly as my training hasn’t been great, and I’m not much faster, partly because I’ve run 10 marathons already in April, and partly because I still have London Marathon on the weekend.
The course is great. It’s a long road where you pretty much run straight on the same road for most of the course. There is lots of local support, and the community really loves the marathon. Wellesley is a great way to have halfway. Just before halfway, there is the scream tunnel full of college girls screaming and asking for kisses. It’s all a bit of fun, and I spent the whole section high fiving everyone. No kisses for me, as I have my beautiful wife waiting for me, and I am far too old for any of that, haha.
I don’t find the Newton Hills that bad, to be honest. Although I think the whole thing is so hilly. I slowed but kept going and was happy to finish in around 3:50. It was wet, with some heavy downpours. I wasn’t racing, and this was the fastest marathon of the month for me and my 131st marathon.
After I finished, I made my way to Samuel Adams Taproom to meet my family and have a few beers and food to finish off the holiday on a high. Happy days… Next up is London Marathon.
3 thoughts on “Boston Marathon 2023”