Reflections at the finish line: Runners and spectators rejoice at return of Boston Marathon

A volunteer wraps a foil blanket around runner Mike Lee after he completed the marathon with a time of 3:35:01. (Photo by Talia Lissauer/BU News Service)

By Talia Lissauer
Boston University News Service

With tremendous pain in his legs and immense pride, Thomas Mackey of Michigan crossed the finish line of the 125th Boston Marathon with a time of 2:58:46, greeted by family members and his girlfriend who made the trip, cheering him on. 

“Having no races for two years, there’s a lot of weight,” Mackey said. “It’s just a massive event, it’s really special to be a part of this historical 125th marathon and all these great people around the world and it’s stupendous.”

Directly after finishing the race, runners were greeted by masked volunteers with water, guiding them through the finish area. They then continued down Boylston Street to collect their medal, snacks, and a foil blanket. 

Runners were able to reunite with family and friends after using one of two openings to exit the finish area. After that was a designated family meeting area that they could also go to, with buses also waiting for those heading out of the area.

As she approached the finish line to complete her third Boston Marathon with a time of 3:47:48, Amy Balash of New York said she was more than excited to reach the end of the 26.2-mile trek.

“It was pretty awesome to be running, coming down Boylston after 900 days of no Boston Marathon,” Balash said.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers were also handing out masks and hand sanitizer to runners as they finished the race. 

Mackey noted how smooth everything in the marathon went, from start to finish, and how motivating it was to have supporters lined up along the course—especially in the final mile, where supporters held motivational signs and cheered on the runners. 

“I’ve run a handful of races, marathons, and people were lined the entire 26 miles of this one, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Mackey said. “No race in the world is like this with people lining the entire 26 miles.”

Coming up next this week, the Boston Marathon champions press conference will take place at Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel on Oct. 12. featuring winners and other notable finishers from the race.

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