Cheering From the Streets

By Phoebe Ryles, Epoch Times
April 15, 2013 2:18 pm Last Updated: April 15, 2013 5:54 pm

BOSTON—The 2013 male and female winners of the Boston Marathon were Lelisa Desisa Benti, from Ethiopia and Rita Jeptoo from Kenya, respectively.  

But anyone from Boston knows that the marathon is not really about the winners. It’s about the the crowds, the holiday, the closed off streets. It’s about cheering for friends, family, and strangers in this strange but satisfying test of endurance.  

“You feel like you are really contributing, I’ve got to help the runners, that’s my job today,” said Ganette from Somerville, Mass., who was watching the marathon with friends in Brookline’s Coolidge corner.  

According to Ganette, Brookline is one of the best places to watch. Coolidge Corner is mile 23 of 26.2 miles. The crowds are big and enthusiastic.

Families set up chairs for endurance watching and the streets hum with excitement. Kids sell lemonade with ice for a mere $0.25 a cup.

Almost everyone know someone who is running.

Lynn, from Brookline, was out on Beacon Street holding three neon yellow signs for three runners: a co-worker and two family friends.  

“I have actually run this marathon, and the last time was 28 years ago.”   

She is expecting her first runner to pass by in about 40 minutes, which means she’ll be out there all day, cheering and soaking up the sun.

For the slightly less committed crowd members the Boston Athletic Association, who organizes the marathon,  has an entrant tracking program. Each runner is tracked by GPS and their location can be monitored online.

The system prevents cheating, like famed marathon “winner” Rosie Ruiz who, in 1980, jumped out of the crowed half a mile from the finish line.

For the rest of us, who don’t want to stand on Beacon Street for five hours, that tracking system means you can dash out the door when you see your runner getting close.