A picture perfect day for the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, and it was a romantical getaway for me and my bride, Jackie, who's been pounding the pavement along this course since 2003!
That meant three hours for two lovebirds to drive one another crazy with inappropriate jokes, words of encouragement, and the occasional hand-holding.
Hugs at the start. And a Dunkin Donuts coffee to start things off on the right foot in Wellesley.
Heather, who's done just about every year alongside mom, couldn't make it to the start from Stonehill, but joined her on Saturday for the number pick-up to wish her well in their annual excursion
All along the route stand sandwich boards adorned with the messages of the people for whom we walk. Jack makes it a point to give each of them a loving touch as she passes each board.
Mile 14.5 - Justin is happy for a second chance at life!
Mile 15, Cian is 3 and likes being goofy
Also along the way, Jack collects stickers to mark her progress and reaffirm the traits that make cancer fighters so admirable
Mile 16 Jillian is a Jimmy Fund Walk Hero
Mile 16.5 is Aire - he's 16 and loves music, theatre and movies!
Mile 17 - Alison is 4 and likes playing with her friends
Mile 17.5 - Abel is 3 and wants to be a firefighter!
Mile 18 - Gavin is 4 and wants to be a tractor man when he grows up.
And oh yeah, Gavin, as any Doctor Who fan knows, bow ties are cool.
Mile 18.5 - Emma is 9, and her favorite food is sushi
The volunteers add an extra layer of excitement along the course and have more than enough supplies to feed and nourish the troops
Jack made a new friend heading through the hills of Newton, Leo Gleason of Framingham, walking for his family members that have suffered from cancer.
He walked for quite a bit with us, chatting it up with all of his fellow walkers!
Mile 19 - Duc is 10 and wants to be a scientist or an artist
Because as any marathoner knows, you just can't do the Boston Marathon course without paying homage to the granddaddy of the course, Johnny Kelly
Mile 20 - Charlee is 3 and wants to be a princess.
Mile 20.5 and Dylan, 7, wants to be a policeman
And as any Boston Marathoner knows, there's nothing quite like reaching the top of Heartbreak Hill. So Jack just had to experience the euphoria and run to the top. Now she knows the Thrill of the Hill.
Mile 21, Dante is 8 and loves building with Legos
The cacophony was thunderous at Boston College, with an upbeat soundtrack to boot!
Mile 21.5 - Wesley is 4 and wants to be a spaceman
Mile 22 and Robyn loves spreading energy and showing off her puppy
Heading into Cleveland Circle, Jackie is full of this energy
Mile 23 and Tommy wants to be a chef
Me, I think Jack exudes this trait with every step she takes
Mile 23.5, Wynter is 7 and wants to be a singer. Belt one out, Wynter!
Mile 24, 4-year-old Ari has a hefty work agenda - firefighter, policeman, doctor AND ambulance driver! Phew!
And then looking up, running toward, lo, there comes a familiar figure. Andrew joined the trek hustling out from the finish to walk the last few miles in with the old folks.
Crossing the Mass Pike and heading into Kenmore Square, Jack still has this in abundance
Mile 25, is 7-year-old Kate, whose favorite color is purple
The family shot with the damn iconic Citgo sign that taunts and tortures marathon runners along Commonwealth Avenue for what seems like an eternity
Now normally every year, Heather rocks out the wild socks, usually wearing the loudest ones she can find and almost always getting noticed coming across the finish line. This year, her brother picked up that torch and rocked his Captain America socks.
Mile 25.6 and 3-year-old Briella loves princesses and ladybugs
Was even able to get some hand-holding in with my bride
With a quick right on Hereford and left on Boylston we come upon the most welcome sight on the Boston Marathon course - Boylston Street and the finish!
Where some finish lines just mean more than others
Me and my baby, happy to have finished together
Was even able to get in a smooch at the finish
And yes, for all of you loyal readers who were worried as you read this blog that poor Andrew might be wasting away to nothing, photographic proof that he once again, availed himself of the feedbag waiting at the finish. So quit fretting, he's gonna be okay.
Thanks to everyone who's supported Jack all of the years that she's walked.
In case you're interested in still donating to her cause, you can still do so here:
All of us know someone whose life has been impacted by some form of cancer, and it's our hope that in some way, these walkathons can help give back something to say thanks to all of those working so hard to find a cure, and a walk of hope for all those still suffering.