An inspirational day
An inspirational day
Jack Wilkie, 4, of Hopedale offers a Dixie Cup full of cold water to any thirsty runner Monday during the 112th running of the Boston Marathon.
By Aaron Wasserman/Daily News staff
Posted Apr 22, 2008 @ 12:28 AM
What started as a quiet morning of staking out good vantage points and then idly passing an hour or two eventually built into an afternoon of cowbells, clapping and shouting on Boylston Street yesterday.
Spectators arrived at the 2008 Boston Marathon in coordinated T-shirts for their favorite runner, carrying homemade signs and cheering as streams of runners passed by. As much as they were trying to offer inspiration, many said they were the ones who found themselves inspired.
"I'm a runner myself and it always motivates me," said Eric Peloquin, 26, of Medford, who was among several rooting for their friend Cheri Blauwet, a top woman in the wheelchair division. "I'm training for a marathon now, I'm sure I'll go for a 10-mile run later just on inspiration."
As competitors in the wheelchair division zoomed down Boylston Street, followed by the elite male and female runners, the crowd released loads of pent-up energy, creating a continuous racket. Even when runners started to come down Boylston in packs, Lorraine Kelley of Woburn kept clapping in approval.
"They just inspire me," Kelley said. "I just can't imagine how they do what they do every day. Everyone deserves a cheer."
Earlier in the morning, several families wearing brightly colored T-shirts stood out along the security barriers. One of them, the Hoffmanns, traveled from Sleepy Eye, Minn., and other points in the Midwest to cheer on George Hoffman, 28, whose first attempt to run the Marathon five years ago, they said, was delayed by a tour in Iraq. Even though his sister from Omaha could not make the trip, her siblings carried a photo of her taped to a Popsicle stick.
"It's an experience of a lifetime for us," said Joyce Hoffmann, 54, George's mother. She was in Boston for the first time, wearing an electric orange shirt like the rest of her family.
About two blocks closer to the finish line was Lynne Petrillo, 53, of Newcastle, Maine. She had traveled to watch her daughter, Katie, a 23-year-old Northeastern student, run in her second Boston Marathon.
Lynne Petrillo was standing outside the Crate and Barrel store where she said her daughter works part time. Banners cheering Katie Petrillo hung from the building's facade. Lynne Petrillo wore a sign detailing the cost of traveling to Boston and parking in the city, with the value of watching her daughter run. Answers: $93, $85 and priceless.
"It's wonderful, it's inspiring in every part of it, no matter how long someone takes," Lynne Petrillo said.
Celebrations continued even after runners crossed the finish line. At the corner of Clarendon and St. James streets about 3:15 p.m. were Ken Pliska, 42, and Deb Spence, 53, getting married in a tuxedo and wedding gown, running bibs still attached.
They met at the Boston Marathon two years ago, when Pliska, a veteran of the race, was showing Spence around for her first time here. Love at first sight bloomed, they said.
After Pliska finished in 2 hours and 42 minutes, and Spence in 4 hours and 20 minutes, she and several friends sprung a surprise wedding on Pliska.
They shared cake and drinks with friends, and posed for pictures for more than a few curious onlookers.
"It was one of my worst times ever," Spence said, "but my best day ever."
You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it's a little thing, do something for others - something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.
-Albert Schweitzer (1875 - 1965)
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