Continuing the chronicling of Heather's first Boston Marathon, we pull back the curtain and show you some of the sights you'll see on the front half of the course (not counting the Wellesley College Scream Tunnel, which gets its own blog post. Stay tuned)
All winter long, Heather had the good fortune of being joined by Big Brother Andrew, whose wisdom and antics kept her training runs entertaining, to say the least.
Even if those same antics drove her bonkers.
Let's put it this way, he keeps a run lively.
Get the point?
Last summer, when Jackie's sister Annie was laid up in a hospital bed before her passing, Heather told her she was going to run the Boston Marathon in 2017, in her name.
Annie's response: "You go, girlfriend!"
Naturally, and so appropriately, Annie ran with her every step of the way.
A special moment, having Annie's husband John, and son Johnny waiting for us at mile 3 to give us a cheer and a boost.
That moment when you see your name on a roadside sign being held by a complete stranger.
(Mad props to Julie Hay for queuing up the cheer squad.)
Heather and her Pace Car.
Future Boston Marathoners, take note: at Mile 7.7 in Framingham is Hanson Electric. For as long as I've been running the marathon (going back to 1992) the business blocks off its sidewalk from spectators, and encourages runners to perform a "FORM CHECK" in the store windows. A way of making sure you've got your racing stride in place. It allows you to adapt and make the necessary adjustments.
In some cases, like Andrew in LaLaLand, no changes are needed.
Santa Claus around Mile 8 is another staple along the course. Many moons ago, when the E Streeters ran the Marathon en masse, I asked my fellow runners if they saw Santa by the roadside. They all thought the distance and heat had gotten to me and I was hallucinating.
Here, for visual proof, is Old Saint Nicholas himself. Photo by Mrs. Claus.
Round about mile 10, passing now through Natick, I encounter my friend Police Chief James Hicks every year. Thanks to him and all the law enforcement folks who keep us - and the spectators - safe every step along the way.
Those antics we talked about earlier?
Yeah, sometimes you just need to take over one of the roadside trampolines for a bounce or two just to fire up the crowd.
Never tone it down, Andrew.
Up next? The Scream Tunnel. Screams, smooches, and guest stars abound.