Friday, April 12, 2002
So you have hiked to Concord with the Carlisle Minutemen and watched the troops from surrounding towns gather together to march across the river to meet the Redcoats and re-enact the battle at the Old North Bridge. Then you make your way into Concord to the reviewing stands on Main Street to watch the parade go by.
On the other hand, you may want to head in a different direction, towards Wellesley, Newton, Brookline or the outskirts of Boston to watch the runners in the 106th Boston Marathon make their way to the finish line on Boylston Street next to the Boston Public Library.
Recently I spoke to several folks from Carlisle, marathoners as well as spectators of the event, asking them to suggest the best places to go to watch the race. To backtrack a moment, let me remind readers that the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon begins in Hopkinton at noon and passes through the towns of Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline, and Boston. The top runners are expected to cross the finish line in Boston starting at about 2:08.
Best places to watch
So where are the best places to watch the race? Susan Mills of School Street, with her children and friends, heads to her home town of Wellesley, where she has to admit parking is no problem since she can always park in her parents' backyard. Here is what she has to say: "The Marathon runs through the length of Wellesley along Route 16, which provides many good vantage points for watching the race. For the best viewing take Route 128 South to Route 9 West (Exit 20B) and then exit at Wellesley Center, Wellesley Hills, or Cedar Street to view the race at Newton Lower Falls. These are good locations as there is some parking and places to get a quick snack. Route 16 will be closed to traffic from 11:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. It should be noted that once the runners begin to arrive it is virtually impossible to cross Route 16, so don't get stuck on the wrong side of the street."
Ron Kmiec of Bingham Road, who will be running his 29th Boston Marathon this year, suggests watching in Newton starting at the 17 1/2 mile point of the race, at the fire station on the corner of Route 16 and Commonwealth Avenue (Route 30) and all along the route better known as the series of four hills that make up Heartbreak Hill. "At the peak of Heartbreak Hill you will see the strong runners, walkers, and the runners who call it a day," says Kmiec. According to those in the know, the four hills of Newton are where the race is decided. It is also the place where many runners drop out. "For the runners who make it and are feeling good after the hills," continues Kmiec, "this is the final downhill home stretch. This is the point where the runner has to push ahead for the last five miles of the race."
Take the Green Line to the Woodland stop to watch
Marathoner Tim Harte, formerly of Estabrook Road and now living in Cambridge, suggests taking Route 128 south to Grove Street (Exit 22), which will take you to the Riverside T stop at the end of the Green Line in Newton. Park at Riverside and take the T inbound one stop to Woodland. From here you can watch runners pass by on Route 16 any time after 1 p.m. Then you can hop back on the T and head into town. Get off at the Longwood Medical Center stop, walk over to Beacon Street and watch runners further back in the pack head towards the finish line. Harte suggests not going further into Boston in order to avoid the crowd of spectators in Kenmore Square. Later you can take the T back to Riverside station, retrieve your car and head for home.
Harte remembers as a child watching the Marathon with his family from several spots along Beacon Street in Brookline, from Cleveland Circle to Coolidge Corner and down to the corner of Beacon and Park Drive. He does not remember but has been told by his parents that one year, he and his brother handed out cut orange slices to marathoner Erich Segal, author of the popular novel at that time, Love Story.
Cheering on the runners
One last tip from Susan Mills to potential Marathon watchers is to know the numbers of several of the runners taking part in the race. It is much more fun to watch and cheer for a teacher, a neighbor, or a friend of a friend, than just standing there, watching the runners pass by. To help you, here is a list of known Carlisle runners and their numbers: Ron Kmiec will have his name on his shirt, as well as his number (9573), Tom Ratcliffe (2188), John Forelli (6736), Daniel Rosen (16994), second-grade teacher Peter Darasz (16437) and Tim Harte (121).Carlisle School physical education teacher Lynn Carmel will be running without a number this year. She had a baby nine months ago and had no time for a qualifying race. Her goal is to just run and finish the Marathon.
So remember those numbers and shout them out, for a rousing cheer from the sidelines can mean a lot to a weary runner as he or she heads up Heartbreak Hill.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito