Out on the Town: Boston Half Half Half Half Half Marathon

I have always wanted to attend a ‘joke’ Facebook event. My friends are constantly marking themselves interested in these events, and I always wonder if they are as fun in practice as they are online. Recently, I seized the opportunity by registering for the “Boston Half Half Half Half Half Marathon.” However, the .826-mile race, organized by a local nonprofit called 826 Boston, gave me a much more organized and legitimate event than I bargained for and subsequently exceeded my expectations.

826 Boston provides tutoring and publishing services for Boston’s young, underprivileged writers. I was happy to hear that my entry fee was going to such a noble cause. Aside from this info, I went in blind, hoping to be surprised at whatever they had planned. After my Thursday classes, I suited up in my one running outfit and made my way toward Boston for the race.

The Half Half Half Half Half Marathon started at Boston Common, so getting there involved a simple train ride from Davis Square to Park Street. Walking up the steps to leave Park Street station, I felt an odd sense of anticipation for the race, even though I knew it wasn’t meant to be taken too seriously. The air was brisk as I approached the Parkman Bandstand, a gazebo on the Common where sign-ups took place.

I was given a bib with a number and instructed to drop my bag in the gazebo. As I waited, many more racers made their appearance, some in silly costumes. The mood was very light; strangers were chatting with one another all around me. I was glad seeing people come together for a good cause. Eventually, we were herded into one specific grass patch, where we were given a few inaugural thank-yous from various people at 826 Boston as well as a short speech from 2018 Boston Marathon champion Desiree Linden.

After all the thank-yous, we lined up in front of the starting line and started the race. The route took us through the middle of Boston Common, around its border and back to the gazebo. There were mile markers situated every .1 mile, so one could pace themselves properly. I finished the race out of breath but satisfied at my small feat. I then had the pleasure of watching the other racers cross the finish line in creative and funny ways, in an attempt to secure the “most creative finish-line crossing” award.

After everyone had crossed, there was a short, but quite entertaining, award ceremony. “Best Team Costume” went to an extended family in unicorn ears and tutus. “Last Place” went to a man in an animal onesie. The award ceremony was lighthearted and fun, and the other racers seemed to enjoy it, too. I left the race area glad I had taken a chance on what I thought was just a silly Facebook event. In the future, I will definitely have my eye out for such events, as they offer a unique and potentially unforgettable experience.