‘The Atmosphere Was Electric’: BC Students Celebrate the Return of Marathon Monday

Last Monday, Harry Sullivan woke up in his Mod at 8 a.m. and made breakfast with his roommates. After a few hours spent cheering on marathoners, Sullivan returned to the Mods to party.

“I think everyone just pretended like they knew each other,” Sullivan, CSOM ’22, said. “It was like a big community. Everyone was just kind of wandering around, going from backyard to backyard, even if they don’t know who lives in that Mod. So it was pretty cool from that perspective, I think everyone just kind of banded together.”

The Boston Marathon returned in full force last Monday for the first time since April 2019, and along with it came a horde of Boston College students once again flooding off-campus streets and the Mods to celebrate one of BC’s most beloved traditions.

Usually held on Patriots Day in April, Monday’s marathon was a delayed celebration of the April 2021 marathon. The 2020 marathon was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was replaced by a 10-day virtual event in the fall of 2020.

For the majority of students, this was their first time experiencing Marathon Monday at BC. It had been two-and-a-half years since members of the Class of 2022 celebrated the marathon their freshman year. 

Audrey Mullen, MCAS ’22, said she enjoyed an early breakfast in Rubenstein Hall with her friends from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., when the first runners started coming down Commonwealth. Ave. After cheering on the marathoners for a couple hours, she made her way to the Mods, where she spent the rest of the day.

“Everyone was in one combined area and everyone was just dressed ridiculously,” Mullen said. “It’s been two years since we got a real marathon so it was really a fun, exciting environment to be a part of.”

Mullen said Marathon Monday as a senior was a very different experience than when she was a freshman. 

“My last Marathon Monday I was a freshman, which is a vastly different environment,” Mullen said. “It’s very confusing and overwhelming when you’re trying to figure it out as a freshman, and I feel like as a senior you’re established in your friendships and social scenes, so it wasn’t even a question of ‘Am I gonna get into this party tonight?’ It was like, ‘Everyone’s invited.’”

Patrick Cadogan, CSOM ’23, woke up at 6 a.m. on the dot to go to his friends’ off-campus apartment and make breakfast, unsure of what to expect for the rest of the day.

“None of us knew what we were doing,” he said. “The only grade that did kind of know the drill was in the Mods.”

An hour or so after waking up, Cadogan said he saw students gathering on the streets off campus and decided to start his day.

“I guess we descended onto the street at that time when there were a couple hundred people on the road,” Cadogan said. “It was definitely a bit chaotic by BC standards.” 

Peter Burdulis, MCAS ’25, also had an early start to his day.  

“We woke up early at 6 a.m. to get ready for the day,” Burdulis said. “We arrived at Foster St. and some of the surrounding streets at around 7 a.m. and spent an hour there before heading over to Comm. Ave for the marathon.”

Since the BC shuttle buses were not running on Monday, Burdulis said he and other freshmen living on Newton Campus had to walk to off campus.

“That was the worst part of the day,” Burdulis said. “The walk was a bit taxing for a Monday morning.”

When he reached off campus, however, Burdulis said the scene was “electric.”

“It was a lot of fun,” Burdulis said. “The atmosphere was electric, and it was great to see so many students show up to support this city and the runners.”

Alexa Barrett, CSOM ’24, also enjoyed crossing Commonwealth Ave. and partying off campus. 

“It was so nice to see everyone in the streets and like, everywhere you turn … you’re meeting all these new people and everyone’s just there to have fun,” Barrett said.

Barrett said it was strange seeing so many people together at once after the pandemic.

“It was weird,” Barrett said. “After like a whole year of being masked and like everyone being separated, it was so crazy, like, [with] the streets completely full.”

Students received several emails from administrators in the days leading up to the marathon discouraging rowdy behavior across Comm. Ave. and suggesting that students celebrate the marathon on campus.

It is critical that all students are respectful of our neighbors who live close to campus, as well as their property,” wrote Associate Vice President for Student Engagement and Formation Tom Mogan. “All on-campus students are strongly encouraged to enjoy the Marathon on campus.”

Students living off campus also received emails warning them against hosting people at their houses and informing them that they are responsible for any misconduct that takes place at their residence, even if the host is not present.

“We anticipate that underage students and non-students alike will seek a place to consume alcohol on Monday,” wrote Andrew Klopstein, assistant director of Off-Campus Student Living. “If you choose to host a social gathering, expect to be overwhelmed by guests, known and unknown, invited and uninvited.”

Sullivan said that it was a unique experience not having to stress about underage drinking, as it was his first marathon that he was of legal drinking age. 

“It was kind of funny because we had the cops basically surrounding everyone, and your instinct as a college student is to be like, ‘Oh they’re coming to bust us up,’” Sullivan said. “But they were kind of just there for crowd control. … It was cool to be able to be in the Mods and have a huge massive party and not have to worry about underage drinking.”

Cadogan said that off campus there was a bit of uncertainty about whether off-campus students would let strangers into their houses and backyards.

“It was definitely a bit more tense [than previous weekends this year],” Cadogan said. “I was in one of my friend’s houses and she looked out her back door at 7:30 a.m. and there were like eight freshman boys in Miami Heat jerseys just standing in her backyard.”

It’s important not to rely on getting into an off-campus house, Barrett said, but to be content just being with your friends.

“I think you can’t go in with your expectations too high, because I know a lot of people went in with expectations … [of] getting into an off campus house,” Barrett said. “So you kind of have to be content with it just being you and your friends walking around.”

After socializing in the Foster St. and Gerald Rd. area, Cadogan and his friends went to the sidelines of the race to watch the frontrunners pass by. Following lunch at Eagle’s Deli, Cadogan said he watched a bit more of the race from Cleveland Circle.

“The Cleveland Circle area was definitely a little bit more wholesome,” he said.

Marathon Monday was “so worth it,” according to Barrett.

“I loved it,” Barret said. “I thought it was so much fun. I think definitely when I first woke up I was like, ‘Oh God, it’s gonna be a long day,’ but it was so worth it, like, everyone had so much fun.”

Burdulis said he is looking forward to the April marathon.

“I can’t wait for the next one,” Burdulis said. “Now that I know what to expect, I feel like it will only be more fun.”

For Cadogan, this is his last Marathon Monday until his senior year, since he is going abroad next semester. Boston will host another marathon as traditionally scheduled on April 18 this spring.

“I’m not getting another Marathon Monday till senior year, so this was actually nice that I could do it in the fall and not feel like I was missing out,” he said.

Mullen said she’s excited for the next marathon in April, but knows it’s going to be a bittersweet experience, as it will be her last one.

“My plan for the marathon in April is to cry,” Mullen said. “A lot.”

Images by Fallon Jones / For the Heights

October 17, 2021