Claudia Chiappa and Laura Martinez
Boston University News Service
As the 126th Boston Marathon returned Monday on a sunny Patriots’ Day, thousands of spectators gathered along the route to cheer for over 30,000 participating runners.
From the starting line in Hopkinton to the finish line in Boylston Street, the 26.2-mile route was scattered with cheers and encouraging signs throughout the morning. Kenmore Square was no different.
Shary Andrews was cheering on her husband, Tom, but only mere months ago, she was on the other side of the barricade, running in the 125th Boston Marathon last October. A runner since high school, Andrews said being on the other side of the action is “weird,” but a fun experience nonetheless.
“The town’s always fun and everybody gets it and they’re very supportive,” Andrews said.
This is the sixth Boston Marathon for Tom Andrews, while Shary participated in four Boston Marathons, a race which she said stands out from the others.
“Boston gets it,” said Andrews. “The whole town is really about the race. Sometimes you go to run a marathon and people there are like ‘oh, there is a race today?’”
Jose Davila, from Staten Island, ran his first Boston Marathon on Monday. Cheering him from the sidelines was a large group of enthusiastic supporters, including his wife, sister, brother-in-law, children, and teammates.
“Every year he always wanted to come to Boston and at one point he said ‘I’m gonna do it,’” said Maria Conde, one of the people cheering for Davila.
Davila ran his first marathon in New York in 2016, according to his son, Luis. His son and daughter were holding cardboard cut-outs of the runner, wearing matching shirts and carrying a flag representing the Club Atletico Hispano Correcaminos, as they awaited Davila’s arrival.
A few feet away from the Davila family stood Rachel McCarthy, from Lynn.
McCarthy said she usually has to work during the marathon, but this year she was able to join the spectators in Kenmore Square.
“I’m a runner, so I have a full appreciation for getting this far,” said McCarthy. “It’s a perfect day for the runners. Sometimes it’s been a million degrees, but this is ideal weather.”
Cam Kennedy and Julie Keeler, from Boston, were also enjoying the event from the sidelines.
“It’s a great event, it raises a lot of good money,” said Kennedy, who said running the Boston Marathon is on his bucket list.
“It’s a very proud moment in our city’s history,” said Keeler. “This is our first time going back since the pandemic, but it seems like there is a great amount of people out cheering.”
While some of the onlookers were locals, others traveled great distances to celebrate the annual race.
Renata Gallo traveled with her family and friends from São Paulo, Brazil, to support her husband, Renato. The enthusiastic group, including Gallo’s children, Leonardo and Felipe, wore matching “Gallo’s Team” shirts as they waited for Renato at Kenmore Square.
A seasoned runner of over seven years, Renato Gallo has run marathons in Berlin, New York and Porto Alegre, among others, but Monday was his first experience in Boston.
“It’s a philosophy of life for him,” Renata Gallo said.
Gallo finished with a time of 2:59:52 on Monday. Renata said the family was heading to Chicago after the marathon to celebrate the results.
While friends, family members, and other spectators supported runners in their journey, volunteers provided essential firsthand help to those on the course.
Gio De La Fuente, 20, was volunteering in Kenmore Square on Monday, filling water cups for runners.
A Fisher College student, De La Fuente said he jumped at the opportunity to volunteer and experience the Boston Marathon in this unique way.
“I’m not from here, I never experienced this before,” De La Fuente said. “So far I love it, I can’t wait to see the runners coming.”
The Boston Athletic Association enrolled thousands of volunteers throughout the marathon’s weekend. This included medical volunteers, radio volunteers, volunteers at the Expo, and volunteers like De La Fuente, assisting runners everywhere from the starting to the finish line.
“Everybody coming together, I think it’s a beautiful thing to see,” De La Fuente said.