[Editor's note: Meet Saucony Freedom Track Club member, Tim Ritchie. Tim is a Boston College alum, where he was a standout cross country and track & field athlete, and took over head coach duties for UMass Amherst's cross country team in 2018.]
Boston is always a homecoming for me. It is the greatest race on the planet, drawing athletes from every corner of the globe and hosting thousands upon thousands of runners. But to those in town, it has the flavor and feel of your local 5K. On any given day, anywhere in New England, you can be asked, "So, are you running the marathon this year?" and know without question they are talking about Boston. I've spent many frozen winters exchanging knowing glances with my marathon compatriots trudging up and down Heartbreak Hill. We've shared the excitement of spring's arrival and longer long runs. We hail Banner Day with the same enthusiasm as Opening Day at Fenway Park. And we all have that hunch that this is the year it'll be a tailwind! If you're in Boston on Patriot's Day you're either running the race or supporting those who are. In town, there is just no escaping the marathon!
I'm very excited to be a part of the race this year and plan on taking full advantage of being back in Boston to experience my favorite parts of the city. I'll definitely get a few miles in along the Charles River and the Chestnut Hill Reservoir pre-race. As a Brighton boy for eleven years, I'll be grabbing dinner at Pizza Etc and my post-race celebratory burrito at El Pelon Taqueria. And you know I'll be visiting a Dunkin' … or twelve. On race day, I'm looking forward to the uniqueness of each town along the way and watching the crowds, excitement and buildings grow with each passing "Entering" sign. I'm counting on the support of my fellow Boston College Eagles at Mile 21 to pull me up Heartbreak and send me into Brookline. I'll spend quality time with family, friends and fans and when the race is over, win or lose, we will find some Sam Adams 26.2 Brew to toast the miles run.
I'm in Western, Mass. these days coaching the UMass Minutemen, but have been back to the course a few weekends to prepare. No matter how many times I hop out of the car in Hopkinton I get that comforting feeling this is just where I want to be: staring down 26.2 miles of both history made and history still to be written. I know this year's April 15th will be no different.