Marathon Monday: The Last Great Sports Festival Event

Some time last week, I was going on about how great Marathon Monday is. Talking about this unique Boston (and state, but mostly Boston) holiday where Beantown takes on an almost Carnival-like atmosphere, as this event of such historic and sporting (two of the most embedded aspects of Boston culture) significance ushers in the arrival of spring in the most communal of ways.

“The Boston Marathon matters in a way other sporting events simply do not,” Dave Zirin writes at The Nation. “It started in 1897, inspired by the first modern marathon, which took place at the inaugural 1896 Olympics. It attracts 500,000 spectators and over 20,000 participants from ninety-six countries. Every year, on the big day, the Red Sox play a game that starts at the wacky hour of 11:05am so people leaving the game can empty onto Kenmore Square and cheer on the finishers. It’s not about celebrating stars but the ability to test your body against the 26.2 mile course, which covers eight separate Massachusetts towns and the infamous “Heartbreak Hill” in Newton. It’s as much New England in spring as the changing of the leaves in fall. It’s open and communitarian and utterly unique. And today it was altered forever.”

Read on at Free Sport

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