First off — congratulations to all of the newly admitted COM students! Becoming a BU Terrier is no easy feat, so go ahead and be proud of yourself. It was so great getting to meet some of you this past weekend at Open House. I hope we sold you on BU/COM. If we did, great! Take a sigh of relief and enjoy the end of senior year. If not, here’s another reason to convince you that Boston is the best place to go to college.
In just about one year from now, if you decide BU is the school for you, you’ll experience a Bostonian tradition like no other. On Patriot’s Day, the third Monday of every April, people from all over the state, the country and the world line the streets from Hopkinton, MA to Copley Square for the Boston Marathon. The marathon began in 1897, and Boston’s college students have been celebrating ever since. BU students look forward to Marathon Monday like six-year-olds looks forward to Christmas morning.
This year, I experienced the marathon from the inside. I traded in last year’s flip-flops and t-shirt for sneakers and a neon orange volunteer jacket. From 9-6, I helped set up one of the hydration stations and passed out water to runners as they finished the last mile of the race. I must admit that handing out water to world-class athletes was a bit intimidating at first, especially after our station caught wind of a volunteer colliding with one of the Elite women. After awhile, though, when I saw how appreciative people were to be given a cup of water, it became fun. There is more strategy is passing out cups than one might think. It was certainly a long day, but every “thanks for volunteering” I got from the runners made it worth it worthwhile.
Being posted at mile 25 all day was an experience in itself. From the first to the last, I got to watch over 23,000 runners as they neared the finish line. The Elite runners passed after only two hours, some looking almost as good as Ridiculously Photogenic Guy. Mile 25 was not as nice to others. Even after 6 hours of running, though, the volunteers stuck around to hand out water, and also to cheer them on to the finish line. Watching thousands of runners, all with different ages, genders and motivations, almost made me want to run a marathon. Well, maybe not quite. But I definitely have a newfound respect for all those who do.
I learned how crucial volunteers are to the marathon. Hydration volunteers only make up a small group of hundreds that volunteer at different posts throughout the course. I would have enjoyed Marathon Monday no matter what, but I’m glad I did as a volunteer this year. The free jacket was also a perk.
Marathon Monday brings the Boston community together like nothing else. This is an opportunity I could not get anywhere else. But don’t take my word for it.
See you next year!