A year after the tragic bombings that marred the 2013 Boston Marathon, the final redemption in my mind was the wonder of the race today from my vantage point in downtown Framingham. It was a perfect spring day - blue skies, cool in the early morning, then warming up as the sun rose higher. The crowd was huge, as was the field of runners, all bound to prove that last year's attack on the most storied marathon in the world not only wasn't going to keep people away, it was going to dramatically boost attendance and participation.
Yes, there was a lot more security present, from more Framingham police officers to military police to a State Police SWAT team, and a flyover by Air National Guard Blackhawk helicopters. But it did not feel foreboding or oppressive, and all of the officers were smiling and talking with spectators while keeping the course safe for everyone.
Kudos to Holli Andrews, Executive Director of the Framingham Downtown Renaissance for helping make it feel more like a community street party than ever. The branding of the event as the "6 Mile Moment" - commemorating the town's location on the 26 mile race route, complete with prominent signage - gave it a celebratory feel, as a live rock band serenaded the runners from a stage next to the train station. A hundred yards to the west, Access Framingham cable TV was broadcasting the race live with a trio of commentators, including recently-retired selectman Dennis Giombetti.
And downtown's diverse array of restaurants no doubt got a boost in business from some of the hundreds of hungry spectators as lunch time approached. Donia Sofia Pupusas Y Tacos, a few steps away on Concord Street, and my favorite for Salvadoran and Mexican comfort food, had every table filled with people eating and watching the race on a big-screen TV, erupting in cheers and applause as the male and female winners were announced.
So if your past marathon Mondays have been spent at home watching the race on TV, next year come downtown and join the party and have your own 6 Mile Moment.