The Back Bay, Public Garden, and Boston Common were always special places for three-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan while growing up in Marblehead. She remembers reading the book “Make Way for Ducklings” in elementary school and taking a field trip to the Public Garden. When she started dating her future husband, Flanagan brought him there, too.
“The first time I took my husband to Boston, he’d never been on ice before and the pond was actually iced over,” said Flanagan. “Then, I brought him back when the Swan Boats were out. It’s a full-circle place for me. I have lots of good memories there. Even when I come back for indoor track meets, I go over and run in that park.”
When not running along the river or racing on the course, elite marathoners may dine at North End restaurants, take in brewery tours, visit museums, or attend Red Sox and Celtics games. At least, they hope to cross a few attractions off their tourist wish list following the marathon, though it all hinges on how they feel after finishing. Asked what she planned to do post-race, Flanagan said, “It all depends on how much I annihilate myself. I could be in the fetal position and not moving for hours. Or, I could be on cloud nine and not have anything hit me until the next day.”
All she could guarantee was that “some beer and some seafood” will be involved. And, perhaps, she’ll get a chance to check one item off her bucket list: a Sam Adams brewery tour.
“I’ve been wanting to take a tour for the past couple years and do some beer tastings,” said Flanagan. “It’s definitely something my family and I have talked about doing this spring.”
Olympian Guor Marial, a refugee from South Sudan who attended high school in Concord, N.H., hopes to visit the Museum of Science. Until injury struck last month and forced him out of the marathon, Marial thought he’d have a chance to go this week. Now, he’s hoping to see the museum on a return trip to Boston. “Before I changed to [majoring in] chemistry, I was very interested in anatomy and physiology,” said Marial. “And I said, ‘I have to go to the Science Museum to look at all the sites.’ ” Also, with his refugee background and recent swearing in as a US citizen, Marial will never forget a high school trip to Plimoth Plantation, calling it “a big experience” to see Plymouth Rock and learn its history.
For Goucher, being a mother to 2½-year-old son, Colt, dictates sightseeing. She sees the Museum of Science, the Boston Children’s Museum and a duck tour in her future.
“I’ll see the city in a whole new light because it will be through Colt’s eyes and what Colt wants to do and what Colt can appreciate,” said Goucher. “He likes trains, boats, cars, animals, and sports. I’d like to spend time exploring, just do a little bit more touristy things and things that Colt could enjoy.”
No doubt there are Red Sox and Celtics games in Colt’s future.
Since runners can sit and enjoy the action, watching local teams play is another favorite Boston activity. Keflezighi has attended a Celtics game and chatted with coach Doc Rivers about the marathon. Flanagan and Marial have memories of watching Red Sox games when they were younger. And after competing in the 2004 Athens Olympics, Flanagan was honored on the field by the Red Sox. Hall threw out a first pitch during one of his first visits to Fenway and he called it “one of the highlights of my career.”
“Whenever I’m in Boston, I always try to take in some type of game,” said Hall. “I’ve been to a bunch of Red Sox games. I’ve also been to college hockey games, Celtics games. Standing out on that mound and throwing out that first pitch, I’ll never forget that. It’s a sports mad city that I’ve fallen in love with through the marathon.”
And in that way, the elite runners are a lot like many other entrants in Monday’s race.
Shira Springer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.