Among the many unique things about Boston Marathon (such as required qualifying times, later start time than most marathons, three start waves) is the fact that it’s held on a Monday. Of course, it’s not just any Monday, it’s Patriots’ Day, an official holiday in Massachusetts (obviously) and Maine (which used to be part of Massachusetts), and a public school observance day in Wisconsin (no idea why). Patriots’ Day commemorates the anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the Revolutionary War. By the way, in case you were wondering, the Revolution is not covered in History classes in English schools. At least not in mine. We covered all the Kings and Queens, skipped right over the Revolution and moved on to the World Wars…
But I digress. Because Boston Marathon is held on Patriots’ Day, many Bostonians call the holiday “Marathon Monday.” In addition to the marathon, as is tradition, the Boston Red Sox will play (the Rays) at Fenway Park at 11am; marathoners will run through Kenmore while they are playing. I probably shouldn’t mention the Red Sox given that my husband is a Yankees fan. Baseball is another thing you don’t learn about in England. When my husband took me to my first baseball game (Orioles vs. Royals, I think), I couldn’t understand why the fans of opposing teams were sitting near each other. I am used to English football, where a fence or wall and even designated entrances physically separate the fans of opposing teams, lest they try to kill one another. Baseball, I learned, is much more civilized.
And April 15th also happens to be Jackie Robinson Day. Robinson, of course, is one of baseball’s heroes for breaking the color barrier when he entered the major leagues in 1947. Given that I’m running a marathon on Jackie Robinson Day I’m likely to be thinking about another hero, Kathrine Switzer, who broke the gender barrier when she ran the Boston marathon 20 years after Robinson’s major league debut. (Coincidentally, Switzer was born in 1947.) It was another five years before women were officially allowed to enter the Boston marathon, which just happens to be the year I was born – 1972. Kathrine Switzer will be signing copies of her book “Marathon Woman” at the Marathon Tours Booth (#2335) at the Boston Marathon Expo on Friday April 12th from 2pm-6pm, Saturday April 13th from 1pm-6pm, and Sunday, April 14th from 1:15pm-3pm. I think I will have to stop by!
Speaking of marathon women, I happened to spot Kara Goucher’s Running for Women: From First Steps to Marathons, on my bookshelf this morning. I was looking for some nutrition tips for the last few days leading up to my race, and thought I’d see what she had to say. There’s a section of her book called “Your Can’t-Fail Prerace Eating Plan” that I found really useful and highly recommend for those wondering what to eat the day before the race as well as on race day. In the chapter “Running a Marathon” I found this quote, that I felt put things in perspective for me as I think about my race strategy:
Whether you call it Patriots’ Day, Marathon Monday, Jackie Robinson Day, or just another Monday, April 15th will be historic.