I know we're still a bit behind the times, but in terms of blogging updates, we've finally reached the point of the opening gun that gives the green light for the final 9,000 runners of this year's Boston Marathon to cross the starting mat.
And that includes our three favorite entries this year - Andrew Cook, Nicole Hatem, and Tom Beaupre!
But before they can get to the blue and gold START painted across the center of Hopkinton, there's a lot of pre-race rituals they have to partake in.
Including.....the group picture with marathoners past, present, and future (looking at you Ian!)
Andrew was photobombing so rapidly, he's a blur!
With great power comes great marathons. That bodes well for Andrew.
This year's Terrific Trio
If only the nuns of St. Joseph's High School could see us now. They'd never believe it. Five Crusaders brandishing medals of Boston Marathons past.
Notice Tom didn't want to flirt with superstition so he wouldn't don his medal. Yet.
Six veterans of Marathons past. Notice only one of them is wearing a number for this year's outing. Iron Man. Or Spider-Man. Some super-hero.
No, they're not making bad fashion choices.
Anyone who's run Boston knows the legend of starting line disposable gear, especially on a day where the temperature barely creeps out of the 40s, and the rain is steadily falling. Thankfully, race organizers collect all the discarded clothing and donate it to charitable organizations. Here, both Tom and Andrew show off their donations to this year's collection.
In Hopkinton, thanks to the ever-capable wheels of Elias Hatem who knows just about every road into and out of Hopkinton, our intrepid runners make it right to the bus transports.
Fashion statements or question marks?
Then it's time to board them buses!
Nicole is just excited because she got a seat to herself on the special bus!
Yes it does.
Don't make fun of the ponchos. They're a life-saver during inclement weather, especially when you're just standing there waiting for your start! No hypothermia, here!
Anchorman High Fives! You better believe it!
And suddenly, in the race's earlier steps - there they were! The father-daughter legend tandem of Phil and Alyssa Maia! 'Twas Coach Maia who helped Andrew develop his love of running at Lowell High School, and now here's Andrew doing his third consecutive Boston Marathon!
Tres aclamaciones para El Senor and La Senorita!
Carrying on a tradition set by his proud papa, Andrew made sure to catch Jolly Old Saint Nicholas on camera.
Back home in Lowell, Andrew's proud mama was letting the city of Lowell - and the world- know how super proud she is of her little runner!
So finally, we've made it to the start! All that remains is the glory of the remaining 26.2 miles of this year's Marathon! We'll close out this blogging series with award-winning shots next time around!