As excitement builds for Marathon Monday, I can’t help but join in on the anticipation of another day celebrating the strongest city in America. For most of my friends here at BC, this will be their second Marathon Monday, but for me, this is my fifteenth. Yep, you read that right. This will be my fifteenth year being a part of the day’s festivities, and I could not be more excited for the most special marathon that the world has ever seen.
Growing up in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, the marathon has been a part of my life ever since I was a little kid. Whenever people ask where I’m from, I reply “Hopkinton- the start of the Boston Marathon.” It is our town’s “claim to fame” and the one day that people actually know where Hopkinton is on a map. At home, it is the biggest and best day of the year. Thousands of people come to my small hometown, a town that doesn’t even have a hotel for them to stay in, to be a part of the Boston Marathon.
In order to explain just how much excitement the marathon brings to Hopkinton, I’ll give you all a little perspective on how Hopkinton operates on a normal day. For starters, it’s a small town. It’s the type of town where everybody knows everything about everybody. Something that makes Hopkinton unique is that from kindergarten through 12th grade, you go to school with the same people. There is no districting in my town, which means that I graduated with just about the same 270 kids I went to kindergarten with. If thirteen years of school together doesn’t get you to know somebody, than I don’t know what does. The second defining characteristic of Hopkinton is that we have no chain restaurants. No Panera, no Chipotle, no drive-thru restaurants - just family owned and operated places to eat. Finally, the third thing that defines Hopkinton from everywhere else in the world is Marathon Monday!
My friends at BC all make fun of me because I love talking about the marathon and Hopkinton. “Htown,” as everyone from my hometown refers to it as, is a place that is home to a certain tribalism. If you’re from Hopkinton, then you’re proud to be from Hopkinton.
Last year was the first year I have ever watched the marathon from any other place on the route besides the start line. At first, I was pretty sad about not being at the start, where I always have been, but then I experienced my first “BC Marathon Monday” and changed my mind. The energy that BC students have at Mile 21 is indescribable. There is a positivity that radiates from our campus and onto the street just after Heartbreak Hill, a time when runners need support the most.
As Marathon Monday 2014 quickly approaches, I can’t help but reflect upon just what the marathon has meant to me throughout my life. In a way, it is symbolic of who I am as a person. Going from Mile 1 to Mile 21 was a huge jump for me in my life, and I know that BC is just one stop along the journey. It will always mean “home” for me, and being from Hopkinton will forever be a part of my identity.
I hope that we will all remember the tragedy that occurred last year on Marathon Monday, but celebrate the strength of our city on Patriot’s Day. As much fun as Marathon Monday is at BC, it is also now a day to honor, remember, and celebrate the lives of those who were affected by the marathon bombings. Sending love from my hometown: “With you at the start, with you at the finish, with you forever.”