Opinions, Column

It’s Not A Race, It’s a Marathon: Expectations Vs. Reality of Marathon Monday

Marathon Monday is a Boston College tradition like no other. To be brief, it’s a day that captures the “highlight reel” of all the other BC traditions: think the chaos of a tailgate combined with the school spirit of the Red Bandana Game. Except, is a tradition really a tradition if three quarters of the school is utterly clueless? As a COVID Sophomore, or as I like to say “a freshman in every way that counts except for credits,” Marathon Monday was a learning experience for the books. Below, I’ve compiled a summary of my biggest “learning experiences” from Marathon Monday.

Crossing the Street

Before the days leading up to Marathon Monday, I had probably spent no longer than five minutes considering Boston College’s geographical placement on Commonwealth Ave. After a series of “informative” emails, I came to the realization that my Marathon Monday experience was heavily dependent on crossing Comm. Ave. before it completely shut down for runners. For days, my roommates and I agonized over when we should cross the street. Crossing the street, I quickly learned, is a balancing act of the utmost importance. Cross too early and you’ll be left bored and sleep-deprived, to aimlessly roam the streets of Gerald and Foster. But, wait too long and fail to cross the street at all, and the “wrong” side of Commonwealth Ave. becomes your personal purgatory. Deciding to err on the side of caution, my roommates and I crossed the street at 6:50 in the morning. Bad idea. The consequence of this anxiety-fueled decision (made by me and a large portion of the sophomore class): mobs of tired, zombie-like people just waiting on the side of the road for something to happen. This spring, I will most definitely be crossing no earlier than 7:30, giving me an additional 40 precious minutes for sleep and bagels. 

The Essentials

Communication between BC’s administration and the student body soared to unprecedented levels in the days leading up to the Marathon. But, I would argue that some of the most important details regarding Marathon Monday were omitted, like where to find food and water. Upon reflection, I realize that was probably because there is none. And with that, Kirkwood Rd. becomes the backdrop for the newest season of Survivor as you’re forced to get in touch with your evolutionary hunter-and-gatherer roots. Don’t be like me and substitute a true breakfast for a handful of bagel scraps. Instead, eat a LARGE breakfast and bring your favorite snack with you. One of my roommates, in all of her wisdom, encouraged my entire eight-man to invest in fanny packs. Her reasoning: not only are they a fabulous costume accessory, but they’re also highly functional and can perfectly store all of the essentials, such as granola bars, a rain poncho, portable charger, and bandaids. Remember, you’re fighting for your life out there. Thanks to the critical thinking of my roommate, my blue metallic fanny pack was Marathon Monday’s most valuable player. 

The Social Scene

Two words: sensory overload. Marathon Monday was without a doubt the most socially overwhelmed I’ve ever felt as a BC student. To summarize, there is so much going on, and yet nothing going on, all at once. After spending the better part of an hour haphazardly roaming up and down the street, my friends and I decided we needed a new plan of action. Instead of stressing over where to go or who to see, we abandoned all plans and adopted the slogan “the best plan is no plan.” And almost instantly, my Marathon Monday improved dramatically. Once I wasn’t consumed by the self-inflicted pressure to “have fun,” I got to truly experience Marathon Monday for what it is: a day all about city pride and camaraderie. 

The good news for all of us first-time-didn’t-know-what-to-expect marathon spectators out there, we get another Marathon Monday in the spring! Now, with our bonus marathon trial run complete, we can embrace this upcoming marathon like a bunch of seasoned professionals.

Featured Graphic by Annie Corrigan/ Heights Editor

October 31, 2021