2022 Boston Marathon

Today J and I resumed our Patriots’ Day routine of watching the Boston Marathon along Commonwealth Avenue between miles 18 and 19 in Newton. It has been three years since the Marathon happened in April: in 2020, the Marathon was canceled outright due to the pandemic, and in 2021, it was postponed until October. This year, the Marathon took its proper place in the calendar, serving as one of my favorite Boston-area rites of spring.

2022 Boston Marathon

New Englanders are known for their reticence and reserve, but Marathon Monday is a welcome exception. Patriots’ Day often falls on the first really nice day of Spring, and everyone turns out to celebrate, with parents guiding kids, kids tugging dogs, and folks of all ages waving signs and ringing cowbells to urge the runners on: go, go, go!

2022 Boston Marathon

In a region where making eye contact with strangers is verboten, on Marathon Monday people actually talk to one another. On a day I’ve called New Englanders’ high holy day of hospitality, locals welcome all manner of strangers to their streets, clapping and cheering elite runners and everyday Joes alike. If you are bold enough to run 26 miles through our proverbial backyard, then by God we’re going to show up and treat you like a champion, even though we might curse you in traffic on any other day.

2022 Boston Marathon

Although it has always seemed fitting that the Marathon happens in Spring–a chance for locals to gather outside, enjoy some sunshine, and celebrate the fact that we’ve survived another long winter–this year I’m realizing how appropriate it is to run the Marathon on Patriots’ Day. Established to commemorate the day in April, 1775 when British troops came to town and the men of Lexington and Concord took up arms to say get off my lawn, Patriots’ Day is a celebration of American liberty in general and Massachusetts resolve in particular.

2022 Boston Marathon

Patriots’ Day celebrates something fierce, but the Boston Marathon celebrates something friendly. Every year on Marathon Monday, I’m struck by the simple kindness of people showing up to cheer for random strangers. Although it was a welcome respite to watch the Marathon last October, this 26-mile-long block party with a race running through it really belongs in April. During a month when both hope and Spring spring eternal, it’s a welcome relief to see strangers come together to cheer and encourage.

2022 Boston Marathon

CLICK HERE to view photos from today’s Boston Marathon. Enjoy!