The Most Historic Race in the World-The 2014 Boston Marathon


Photo Credit: Ariel Shilitz

The view of the finish line from the VIP bleachers.

by Ariel Shilitz, Staff Writer

The day began the night beforehand, Sunday April 20th. I could not bring my satchel with me because of security. My brother couldn’t carry his drawstring with food and water because of security. My mom could not bring her purse because of security. We all packed the things we needed in a clear, plastic bag for the following morning when we would sit at the finish line of the 118th Boston Marathon, right across the street from where the bombs went off last year on Boylston Street.

My mom, brother and I took the shuttle from our hotel on Race Day morning and took the trip across the river to Beacon Street near the Public Garden. We made our way through the park, passing security, policemen, and other pedestrians not knowing if they were undercover or not. At the other side of the park, I spotted large yellow signs saying, “Security Checkpoint” with a number afterwards which states which number checkpoint that is. Not only were there checkpoints in order to walk on Boylston Street, but there was also checkpoints for every street parallel and perpendicular to it. The race finishes on Boylston Street right past the Boston Public Library.

We got to our seats on the bleachers. There were not many people there, since it was only 9am and the elite runners hadn’t even begun their race yet. We were patient with waiting to see the finishers and that was probably because there was so much going on around us, there was so much to take in. While sitting on Boylston Street, the jumbo screen was showing live footage from the starting area in Hopkinton, MA.

The jumbo screen on Boylston Street kept the crowds updated on what was happening on the course.

The wheelchair race started around 9:20 with the elite women following at 9:30am. The official start began at 10 with the elite men leading and the rest of the first wave of runners. There was an extra wave this year, making four total waves. This was because the runners who did not have the opportunity to finish in 2013, had the option to run the race again this year. I waited until 11 to start tracking my dad, who was running in wave three.

All eyes were on the elite runners, both women and men. An American had not won the Boston Marathon since 1982 and this out of all of the years, the spectators were hoping for an American clean sweep. That’s not what the final outcome was but the majority of the 26 miles were led by Americans. Throughout the women’s race American, Shalane Flanagan was the leader. It seemed that she was going to finish 1st until the 20th and 21st mile, also known as “Heartbreak Hill.” She fell behind and ended up finishing 7th overall. The men’s race was led by American Meb Keflezighi, who came out on top in the end. When he turned the corner onto Boylston, the crowd’s sounds sounded like an echo; it was quiet towards the beginning of the street but got crazier and crazier towards the finishing line. The footage made it seem like a Kenyan behind Meb was going to pass him, but he never did. After a 2 hour, 8 minute and 37 second race, averaging a 4:55 mile time, Meb became the first American in 32 years to win the Boston Marathon.

American, Meb Keflezighi, finishing the 118th Boston Marathon.

Thousands of people crossed the finish line from then on. Participants represented every state in the nation and over 90 different countries. The patriotism between everyone there was incredible. Even as runners were crossing the finish line, at 2:49 pm, there was a moment of silence at the exact moment the first bomb went off last year.

As I was sitting in the stands, I could only imagine running down Boylston Street and hearing the announcers say, “Congratulations, you have just finished the 118th Boston Marathon, the most historic race in the world.” It gave me adrenaline just to hear it and seeing the runners just push themselves that much more to finish with hands in the air.

My dad finished better than he thought he would-just over four hours. A few weeks after the race, I asked him how he liked running the Boston Marathon. His response was, “I didn’t want it to end.”