A Tradition Like No Other

There is no question regarding the best weekend in sports, at least in Boston. Patriots Day itself is a celebration, a state holiday that holds the Boston Marathon, but not before a home Red Sox game takes place.

As Boston sports teams are perpetually in the playoffs, sometimes scenarios like this weekend can unfold. Saturday night the Bruins woke up from their deep slumber in game 1 of their first round series to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs in game 2 in convincing fashion 4-1. Sunday morning gave way to the reeling Sox against the Orioles, where an otherwise uneventful outing saw David Price throw a three-hitter over seven innings and no earned runs. It remained a 1-0 pitcher’s duel until Xander Bogaerts broke the game open and provided some needed insurance with a three-run home in the bottom of the eighth.

As if that wasn’t enough to chew on, the Celtics completely flipped the switch in the second half of their playoff opener against the Pacers, turning a halftime deficit into (at one point) a 22-point lead en route to an 84-74 game one win in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The games overlapped, with the announcement made between innings that the Celtics had emerged victorious.

Oh, and by the way Tiger won the Masters. His first major tournament victory in over a decade resulted in his fifth green jacket, which was also announced at the game to an erupting crowd.

But this weekend is a long weekend for more than one reason. Many people have Monday off to take in the oldest yearly marathon in the country and it didn’t disappoint. Well, the Sox did, but that’s not what we’re here for.

The 26.2 mile jaunt from Hopkinton into downtown Boston was met with roughly 500,000 spectators and downpours in the morning gave way to a sunny day for running (but mostly day drinking).

Lining the streets for the entirety of the course, course-goers were treated to a photo finish in the men’s race, with Lawrence Cherono barely edging out Lelisa Desisa by two seconds. Cherono won in 2:07.57. It was a three-man race as they made the turn onto Boylston Street for the final 600 meters, but the two shook off
Kenneth Kipkemoi to run stride for stride the rest of the way.

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Desisa led but Cherono surged ahead mere yards from the tape as Desisa faded for a spectacular finish.

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The womens’ race was a different story, as Worknesh Degefa ran virtually the entire race by herself in a blazing 2:23.31. Degefa pushed herself early to a pace no one was willing or able to run at, with other competitors admitting they didn’t think she could keep it up. Des Linden admitted as much, saying “When she started putting down those super quick miles, you start thinking, ‘This is her race to lose,’ and you just let her go and hope she comes back.” She never did, and went on to win her first major marathon.

The winners are almost never the story of the marathon, as it is the hundreds of stories around the marathon that make it what it is. Stories of fans providing orange slices and water may not be possible anymore due to the increased security after the marathon bombing, but this year still had its share of stories.

There was a combat veteran literally crawling to the finish after his legs had abandoned him, an unwelcome but not entirely uncommon result of running 26 miles on purpose. Throughout the day there were other cases of runners helping other runners to their feet and helping walk them to the finish.

Oh, and NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson ran, calling it the “most challenging thing I’ve ever done.”

Johnson finished the course in a respectable 3:09.07.

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