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The Boston Globe

Magazine

Connections

In praise of Boston Marathon spectators

When you’re running and the needle is on empty, one thing keeps you going. The hordes of fans encouraging you not to give up.

GROWING UP IN BOSTON in the ’70s, I didn’t know our Marathon was a world-famous sporting event. All I knew was that my dad got excited when Patriots Day arrived. And I remember feeling awestruck by the enthusiasm of the enormous crowds into which we crammed ourselves on Commonwealth Avenue.

For these reasons, I swallowed hard and accepted a charity spot in the 2009 Boston Marathon. At 36, I’d never run more than 5 miles in my life. But a cherished bib number had fallen into my lap just six weeks before race day. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

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