Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Law Blogger Runs Marathon, Finds Beer and Kisses

Law Blogger Runs Marathon, Finds Beer and Kisses

Turkewitz-Boston-Marathon2009-744818 I missed watching the running of the 113th Boston Marathon this year. For many years, standing along the marathon route was a rite of spring for me. I went to Boston College Law School, just down the street from the marathon route, and later lived in Wellesley, a town the route passes through. My favorite place to watch was near the top of the notorious Heartbreak Hill, where I could help cheer the runners on with the encouragement that they were almost over the worst of it.

Had I been there this year, I would have been able to watch fellow legal blogger Eric Turkewitz tackle the grueling route from Hopkinton to Boston. But Turkewitz, blogger that he is, offers the next best thing to being there, as he recounts his run in a lengthy post at his New York Personal Injury Law Blog. Although he has run in marathons since 1994, this was the first time he qualified for the Boston Marathon, which is the only public marathon that requires a qualifying time.

It is an accomplishment Turkewitz relishes. "When I was a kid, I suffered repeated injuries in 7th, 8th and 9th grades," he writes. "While everyone else moved forward athletically, I went backwards. I strove to be mediocre." Now he finds himself among "the largest and most concentrated collection of physically fit people on the planet."

Early on, the going is easy. "The hard part is qualifying," he writes. "The race is dessert." At mile 8.2, he watches for but misses a former blogger he knows who is supposed to pass him a beer from along the sidelines. Shortly afterwards, he finds another group handing beer to the runners and he grabs a few ounces. Soon after the beer came the kisses:

The Wellesley College "scream tunnel" near the 13 mile mark can be heard 1/4 mile away. The women are standing on the barricades, cheek to jowl,leaning into the race, screaming for kisses and holding up imploring signs. Who am I to disappoint them? Was it six that I kissed? Eight? Ten? Another runner and I contemplate circling back for more.

Fueled by kisses and even more beer, Turkewitz ascends Heartbreak Hill. As he makes it over the hump and begins the final leg towards Boston, "the crowds thicken more as the terrain turns definitively urban." Then he approaches the finish line:

I turn from Commonwealth Avenue onto Hereford Street and then onto Boylston, thick with Bostonians several people deep on both sides of the road. I see the finish line ahead, with a temporary bridge over the street to hold the cameras and press. Through the exhaustion I ham it up once more for the crowds, again waving in an up swept motion to get them louder and louder. I raise my arms up in advance of the finish line.

He ended with an official time of 3:36:43. For Turkewitz, this was a marathon -- and an achievement -- on many levels:

In one sense this was a 26.2 mile journey. In another it was a three-day weekend. In yet another sense it started in 1994 when I finished my first marathon and I realized that I had never tested the limits of what I was capable of. And in another sense the journey started in 7th grade when I ground to a halt athletically while my peers surged forward.

But after long efforts I finally qualified for one of the most prestigious races in the world. And I toed the line at Hopkinton and arrived on Boylston Street. I ran Boston.

This post took me an hour or two to write, but it took years to get here.

And all I can add to that is: Congratulations Eric!

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Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on April 22, 2009

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