As a recent survivor and in honor of my 60th birthday, I decided to do the Susan G. Komen 3 day, 60 mile walk in Boston. The walk started Friday and concluded today. To participate, you have to raise a minimum of $2300, which goes to breast cancer research and community support. Thanks to my generous friends, family, and colleagues, I was able to exceed this goal by several hundred dollars, which makes me feel very good that my birthday initiative is making a contribution to advancing treatment and finding a cure for this disease.
About 1700 women –and a number of men– participated in the walk, which traversed some historic and beautiful sections of Boston. The event began with an opening ceremony. There were speeches from the organizers, and a parade of banners by survivors that ended in a circle around the center of the concourse. Walk participants were invited to write the names of loved ones and friends who have succumbed to the disease on a giant banner, which was then also raised in the center of the concourse. It was very moving.
The walk began about 7:15 a.m., but it was already quite hot, and eventually rose past 100–the hottest day on record in Boston since 1926. Due to the press of participants, it was very crowded and as we had to cross several streets with traffic lights, the going was slow. Eventually–about 12:30 p.m.–the route had to be closed because of the extreme heat, and we were bussed to lunch and then to the camp–a Jewish high school in Waltham– where most of the participants were staying. Camping was not for me, so I elected the creature comforts of a hotel room, which I very much appreciated especially with the heat.
The route had several “pit stops” and the first couple of these on the first day were extremely crowded. But also along the route were both official and unofficial cheering stations.
The hospitality and warmth of Bostonians is incredible! Some people left out coolers with water, ice or popsicles; others decorated their yards, and left their sprinkler on so that it crossed our path.
Others had set up lawn chairs and expressed their thanks for our walking as we passed, some with spritzers of water, receptacles for our garbage, or baskets of candy.
Small children gave us licorice and stickers. It will be hard to get used to not being thanked for walking when I return!
Yesterday it rained in the morning and was much cooler, though still well into the 80s by afternoon when I finished 20.8 miles. I was near the beginning of the line, so the pit stops were not crowded when I got there. I made the 20 miles by 2:15, none the worse for wear except for “golfer’s vasculitis”–a non painful rash that is a hazard for the over 50 crowd of walking too long in the heat.
Today’s walk took us through Cambridge, Harvard Square, the MIT campus and downtown Boston, where one of our pit stops was not far from this iconic statue of Boston, George Washington on a prancing horse:
Today’s walk was also a bit shorter–about 17 miles–and just about everyone had one or more blisters, including me. My feet were pretty sore, so I took it slow and easy and crossed the finish line about 3:30 p.m., with Marty there to greet me. We walked down the “Victory Lane” to cheers on both sides.