Running up that [Haahtbreak] Hill
April 8, 2013 9:31 PM   Subscribe

Our friend is running in her first Boston Marathon this year, and we want to support her from home. If we are able to get a few helpful Boston friends to do our bidding, what can we do to give her an unexpected boost?

She is in Wave 2/Corral 6, if that helps. We're planning to make a bunch of signs and post photos on Facebook, of course, but it would be totally awesome if she could see something with her name on it 1000 miles from home.

Thanks for any and all suggestions, however wacky -- I love wacky :D
posted by Madamina to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Wellesley College makes personalized signs for runners. You can request one on Facebook or Twitter—it's a bit past the deadline, but their Facebook page says they'll still try to make signs requested today.
posted by rebekah at 5:33 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: That's awesome! I had no idea :)
posted by Madamina at 9:07 AM on April 9, 2013

So to clarify, will you have compatriots on the ground that can help you? When I ran the race a few years back I was amazed at the crowd support this race has even for slow pokes like me (I started in wave 2 as well and that means that for some portions of the course, the leaders came by 2-3 hours before me and yet the crowds were still 4 or 5 people deep at some places). The only places where this wasn't true was between miles 16 and 17 where the course goes across and Interstate overpass. There the crowds were non-existent. The crowds were also a little thin after Newton leading up to Heartbreak Hill. If you concentrated your efforts there, it might be a big win.

I should also add that if your friend wears something that has her name written on, random strangers will yell out to her and that may be comforting to her.
posted by mmascolino at 9:22 AM on April 9, 2013

In escalating order of effort...

Not an especially good in-race treat, but apparently Sweet Cupcakes will make a cupcake with a bib number on it. If you know folks who are meeting her post-race, might be a nice surprise.

You could also express mail her a "do not open until race morning" package to put in her bag and bring to Hopkinton with her. Encouraging notes, a little bottle of sunblock or body glide, markers and tape so she can write her name on her shirt, silly articles or inspirational quotes to read while she's hanging out in Hopkinton waiting for the start. (That wait is prime anxiety time!)

If you know what kind of energy gels/drinks she uses, you could ask your friends to set up a little dedicated elite-style water stop for her. Have them hold up big, obvious signs with her name and offer her a water bottle, Gu, whatever. (There's enough water on the course that she won't strictly need it, but it could be a good boost. My dad does this for me every time I run and it makes me feel like a rock star.) The overpass that mmascolino mentions is a particularly good spot for it 'cause of the thin crowds.
posted by ann_disaster at 9:38 AM on April 9, 2013

Response by poster: Update: my friend finished in 3:46 and (ugh, people are AWFUL) is safe, as are those in her group. And she's a nurse.

I made a sign request to the Wellesley ladies but wasn't quite sure if it made it through (didn't see the sign), but it was incredibly cool nonetheless to know they do that. I told my buddies and got high-fives.
posted by Madamina at 1:55 PM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

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