Fall 2021 Boston Marathon

by alexandriawill

So if you are reading this, you already know what an honor it is to attend the Boston Marathon. It’s the Olympics for any marathoner and often a dream race. Being a person who has gone a few times and even ran part of the course, no one so far has ever experienced it in the Fall, virtual and fewer attendees than before.

There are a lot of changes that have been made since I have arrived. Besides it being a larger airport, it’s a lot of changes that have been made from where you can eat to just picking up a car share ride area. I hardly saw the usual sea of Boston and race jackets as I usually saw. I got excited to see a few on my flight from DC, but we didn’t high-five each other or anything before. The mood was different.

The SEAPORT!

I stayed at the seaport area, which was once where they had the expo. I like the seaport area, but it was much less busy clearly than I remembered. With no expo at the convention center and most people not staying there, it was just a regular weekend, and many were in for other things going on in the weekend, such as the Red Sox and Celtics games. This allowed me to at least find a place to grab some food, but like with anything, I recommend always making reservations because the seaport is the new up-and-coming district now.

For Saturday, a significant change is my favorite 5k. I am not a fan of 5ks, but once I ran the Boston 5k, it was the Boston of 5ks. Folks are racing and all; it’s also my slowest 5k because I took all my race pictures, and you get on the actual course its self. This year, there was no 5k, which felt weird. But in the change, there was a lot of progress as BAA helped support the local chapters of black men run and black girls run, Boston in their first shakeout run on Saturday morning. This run was more like a historical tour with stops and information on various historical moments in Boston that have impacted African Americans. For example, many affluent African-Americans in the early 1900s were only affluent due to working around the tin. On the surface, this sounds great, but it was only because the owners and companies would hire blacks. After all, they were cheaper labor than any other race. These low-paying wages for blacks were considered high for them during this time, thus changing the lives of many families.

Shopping on Boyselon and Runners Things


From the expo to the runners’ lounge, I think the most significant change we’re seeing is the reduction of people there. I was able to make it through the expo and most lines without a wait on Saturday morning. I went to Tracksmith, Lululemon, and even the Nike store to enjoy recovery items, commemorative items, and lots of shopping because why not. We were able to meet up with many other folks in the area and grab a bite to eat to watch college football. The weather was perfect and excellent, and everyone was chilled. This didn’t feel like race weekend as most people were just there on a regular weekend, and the lines weren’t as crazy as usual. This was positive because I’m not too fond of lines and got the experience a lot that I missed before.


However, I was sad because I thought about the amount of money lost during the typical Boston Marathon weekend for many local businesses.

That evening, I ate with the Garmin group of ambassadors and team at Joe’s, which is very popular and by the start line. We had a great time, and I was able to help the Garmin team during their first time at Boston with where to go and what to do. This felt more like a business meeting, one of the most significant aspects of going to Boston. There are many brands there, so this week is an excellent weekend for networking and showcasing to both domestic and international people. It’s easy to catch coffee or schedule meetings to discuss business plans, which I did with Garmin for 2022.

Sunday Shakeout


Sundays are filled with everyone’s shakeout runs. Let me be honest. There were a million more shakeout runs, and all of them started close to the Fan Fest area, close to the finish line. From iFit hosting aerobic and yoga classes outdoors to the Boston pioneers and even Garmin hosting shakeout runs, Sundays are filled with tons of them. Frankly, I was tired of shakeout runs, so I did my usual and took pictures with everyone and met many people in real life. We also went to attend prayer over athlete services but could not do so as they were turning people away for the first service. In the past, there was always room at the first service, so that I would go to that.

This is the first time I have seen them turn away people before they start service too. They did an impromptu and prayed over us outside. I loved this. We were able to say safe and still have a prayer. Prayer is needed no matter if you are running the following day or in your life.

Black Boston Marathoners Event

The event was a crazy one. We have grown this event from just a handful of people to a waitlist of over 60 people. We had a news crew and a room full of first-time 6-star finishers and sub-3 athletes. The shirts were a hit as since we weren’t able to deliver them to the Boston team locally to wear that weekend, we could give more to each person who attended. Adriene, who founded this meetup, will be announced as part of the new induces to the board of the BAA, which is a significant milestone. She continued to thank Brooks and me for the support of both providing food (there was no pasta dinner from BAA) and shirts. In the past, these were things that runners had to pay for, and during Boston weekend, everything was so expensive. Being able to take this burden off runners was grateful and noted. Runners this year, we’re also able to have massages during the meetup to prepare for the following day. 

Race Day – Boston Marathon Day


With 1/3 of the athletes that typically run, it was a much smaller field and less time spent standing around than previously. One runner, who was going for his second sub 3 after coming from London and achieving a sub 3, noted how he barely had time to warm up because they told him to start nearly 10 mins after getting off the bus and checking in bags. They were prompt, and the race was a well-oiled machine this year. As a runner from 2018, I saw a lot of positive changes, such as the wrist bands from covid testing to even transportation. There was a mixup on transportation as a few buses were lost. HA! There was crowd support, and everything was a traditional Boston marathon with tons of cheering; the Wesley attendees were still out sans kisses for runners and tons of celebration along the route.

It was less and felt like a regular race as typically it’s backed shoulder-to-should, but security was tight, and everyone was mostly masked up. The joy of the race was back, but I could feel the difference from it being Spring to Fall. The change was relatively lovely, and Fall foilage on the East is always a plus.

There were a few places to grab medal engravements, such as Undermour, as always, and Tracksmith handed out their poster collection with printed times on it. Things were pretty standard on this route.

The spirit of Boston is something I can’t describe. While it’s a major world race, the Boston marathon brings out the best of people and changes you internally. There is just something about the race that I always leave reflecting upon how privileged I am to be here and part of the running community. When people ask me why I run, I always share that it’s an excuse to travel and see the world. Most people follow up and say, well, you can travel.


For me. When I visit a city, state, or country just for traveling, I only see it. But when you run, you feel it.


That’s what this weekend was. You can feel the history of the race and the stories of us as runners throughout this weekend—the changes that have happened and the ones that are being made. For me, this renewed my goal of completing the world majors and becoming a 6-star finisher. It also meant it would be my next marathon as I am now ready to train for it and hopefully achieve my 3rd star there.

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