Boston Marathon 2018

from Serena Teoh

The 2018 Boston marathon was definitely one to remember. On the days leading up to the marathon, participants received information from the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A) of the imminent weather ahead of us for race day itself on the 16th of April 2018. With just 1 day to go, the forecast looked just as bleak, and Jason told an injured me, “Let’s run this together, there is no way for a PB tomorrow.” After the fall accident and having to readjust my goals, I would be delighted just to finish, and now thankful to have a companion supporting me in this weather.

I think us runners knew it was going to be bad, but probably not how bad it was going to be until we all stepped out of our accommodation on race day. With gusting winds and heavy rain in near-freezing temperatures, we tried not to picture the looming miserable journey ahead of us as we made our way to the official bus loading area, where we would travel 26.2 miles out from central Boston to the rural village of Hopkinton.

As Wave 1 participants, whose bus loading time was 600 to 645, and race start at 1000, Jason and myself made a decision to leave the hotel later to minimise standing out in the cold for 3hours at the starting area. After an expectedly heavy traffic, we finally boarded one of the official buses and were on our way to Hopkinton. Our bus driver, and probably just like many of the other drivers, was clearly in distress, wiping whatever part of her front window she could reach out to constantly, as the weather remained merciless.

By the time we arrived at Hopkinton it was close to Wave 1’s race start time, and as we still had about 1.5km to the start line, Jason and myself started running the moment we disembarked the bus, passing crowds of the later starting runners clad in shower caps, ponchos and plastic-covered shoes. Unfortunately, we did not make it to Wave 1’s start, and had to wait for Wave 2 till 1025. In soaked socks and frozen feet, we huddled together with Wave 2 runners as the emcee announced famous Meb starting amongst us in the same wave this year for charity.

And then the gun went off, and runners started zooming past us down the first few miles to Ashland. Jason and myself did not agree on a pace, but very quickly we rolled comfortably into a 4:40/km and continued on to Framingham and Natick. With the weather we did not expect a thunderous crowd, but for those who made the brave decision to be out there, they were definitely not letting us go without making their presence felt. My favourite has got to be, “Run to Boston, baby!”

Then came, in my view, the most iconic part of the race, Wellesley. A former college of Hillary’s, one would not miss the Wellesley girls. In fact, you would hear them from afar before even seeing them. “KISS ME!”, was what most of them screamed or had on their placards. It made me smile, but not for long, as we came into Newton Hills, where I started having troubles at the 25km mark. I don’t know if it was the cramps from the freezing cold, or the other leg which had to compensate for my injured right, but pain was searing into my left feet, with each step it felt worse, by now I had fallen back from Jason. Sensing my despair, my accompanying friend had to slow with me to a walk, attempting to jog in between but ending up worse into a limp.

And so this was how I continued the last 17km, down Commonwealth Ave, to the famous Heartbreak Hill at km 31, into Brookline at km 35, and the final 7km all the way to Boston, walking, jogging and limping, in continuous repeat mode, to the finish line at Copley Square. Like a true friend and athlete, Jason supported and walked with a suffering me the last 17km in the never-ending pouring rain and freezing temperature. 400m before we crossed the finish line, we turned and hugged each other, acknowledging this epic survival race of a lifetime. 300m before we crossed the finish line, we tore our plastic rain covers off which we had worn the whole way through, in preparation for a photo of this epic survival race of a lifetime. And from then onwards, everything became a beautiful memory.

Jason & Serena: 3:50:56