Thursday, November 6, 2008

What's so special about Boston?

As most people know - the Boston marathon is the oldest annual marathon in the world. It was first run in 1897 - one year after the innagural Olympics. Given the popularity of marathons these days, you might be suprised to know that of the four other "major" marathons (New York, Berlin, London, Chicago) the earliest is New York, which started in 1970. Before the running boom of the 1970's marathoning was not very popular - Boston survived based on tradition.

To get more of an idea of how a non-runner Bostonian views the marathon - this "idiot's guide to the Boston Marathon" by ESPN's the Sports Guy is pretty good. It's not my favorite column of his - but, there are some good lines like - "Any athletic activity that causes you to pee on yourself, justify it and have the justification actually make sense is something I don't want to be doing under any circumstances."

Basically he says that the Boston Marathon is an event (~500,000 people spectate) because people get the day off from work (Patriots Day), it gives people an excuse to be outside when the weather is finally getting good, get drunk, and make fun of other people. Four things that Bostonians love to do apparently.


RM said...

I'm on the fence about Boston, but it's probably related to how much spite I have for Boston and Bostonians (except for Bostonian shoes). I think New York is the most significant marathon in the world, but I also like New York and grew up with the race.

Boston is big for Americans. I think more runners in America would ask if you've run Boston over any other race. I think it represents freedom. Certainly has a lot of history.

I don't see myself being one of those people who goes out there and runs Boston every year, but it's one of those things you have to do as a runner, and would be nice to do it in your running "prime" so you can have a good day maybe.

Alex said...

(That reminds me ... did you ever notice how some of the elite female runners are so skinny that they appear like another species entirely? Can you imagine seeing any of them naked? Who would date them? Wouldn't it be a little gross to have a girlfriend who's 5-foot-5 and weighs 53 pounds? What do they eat, bugs?)

Golden. I'll have to use that.