We weren't on the official route of the Marathon or of the Marathon Daffodils, but someone decided to adorn all of our stoops with pots of yellow trumpets anyway (here's an official one on Newbury St). At least it was relatively quiet away from the crush of people in town this weekend. A sunny Saturday for cafe-goers and shoppers, Easter Sunday, and a big Marathon Monday that everyone wanted to be part of this year after last year's bombing meant that the city was teeming with people - particularly in Back Bay where the Boston Marathon winds up its 26.2 miles. Saturday was also D's birthday, for which I'd made evening dinner reservations to ensure we could get in somewhere.
The magnolias that line Comm Ave began to open, although near-freezing temperatures at night kept most of them from going full throttle. Wisely, as a couple of years ago they all opened during a March heat wave and were quickly frozen into sad brown rags. With the long cold winter and slow-starting spring, the blossoms have been pacing themselves like a smart marathoner. As it turned out, Monday was quite warm - and the pace of the marathon fast as the winner of the women's race, Rita Jeptoo, set a course record, coming in at 2 hours, 18 minutes, 57 seconds. (One 73-year-old woman, a former marathoner, finished her first Boston Marathon in 8 1/2 hours, the final runner to come in.)
On Marathon Day itself, there were security checkpoints this year, and lots of visible police and other security personnel around, but otherwise the event felt just as joyous as every other year. There were certainly solemn tributes and lots of Boston Strong signs as reminders of last year. Meb Keflezighi, the 38-year-old American who won the men's race, had the names of the four people who died last year written on his running bib. Many of the runners interviewed were understandably emotional about this year's race. I think I was overwhelmed by the onslaught of crowds over the weekend and just wanted things to go back to normal, and so on Monday I felt relief at the joyous atmosphere, the cheering and cowbell ringing, the kids and dogs, cellphones and cameras, students hanging off balconies and drinking beer in Boylston St pubs, and the endless runners streaming in from Kenmore Square and rounding the corner at Hereford heading for that last stretch on Boylston.
For a few more pix from the weekend, here's what I managed to upload to Flickr.
And check out Lorianne's account from further back on the race route.