Kara GoucherPatriot’s Day means the Boston Marathon here in New England, when countless throngs line the streets between Hopkinton and Beantown and cheer on thousands of runners as they make their way along.

I’ve run Boston twice, and I honestly think that I prefer watching the race over running it. It’s a great experience, and the wonderful weather that the runners enjoy every year that I don’t run certainly helps, but mostly I just love seeing all of the different levels of athletes competing from the most competitive elites to the mid- and back-of-the-packers that come through hours later.

It also means I get to spend more time with my friends that aren’t running, keeping an eye out for folks we know as the street begins to twist and warp as we get dizzy from watching the runners.

If you have never gotten out to watch the Boston Marathon, I highly recommend making a trip at some point in the coming years. There’s a lot of history here, and the entire city and surrounding communities are involved in some way shape or form with the marathon and it’s runners. You don’t see that level of local commitment at very many races, even ones that boast more finishers than Boston.

Here is how the race developed, along with some photos along the way that we took from our vantage point near the bottom of Heartbreak Hill:

Video Transcription

The 115th running of the Boston Marathon saw some great weather, with a tailwind that pushed a lot of people into PR’s and led to some records.

Ryan HallI was watching the race from my customary spot near Heartbreak Hill, and listening to the race unfold from spectators who had the radio going, it was kind of amazing listening to Ryan Hall repeating what he had done the other year where he was running out front, pushing the pace, showboating to the crowd, but you really can’t complain. He had a 4th place finish. He ran a minute and 19 second PR. He had drifted from 1st back to 8th when he passed by us, but he was able to still pull it forward.

The men’s race developed a lot like the women’s races have in the years passed, with not very much time between the leaders. Geoffrey Mutai ran a world’s fastest marathon, almost a minute faster than Haile Gebrselassie’s record with his 2:03:02. Moses Mosop was right behind him with 2:03:06. That’s only 4 seconds, and both of them are about a minute under the previous world record.

Unfortunately, the Boston Marathon isn’t a record eligible course. It’s a point to point race, and there’s a net downhill that exceeds the maximum allowed in decent per meter for the race. So, even discounting any benefit they may have gotten from the tailwind, the course won’t be available for world or national records, but it’s still amazing performances and it definitely sets a new bar for people to chase.

Desiree Davila and Kim SmithThe women’s race was just as exciting. Kim Smith went out to a pretty early lead, and she got almost a minute separation between her and the pack by mile 16.

Unfortunately, by mile 18, she was getting caught by the pack, and she dropped out of the race shortly after passing us on Heartbreak Hill.

Caroline Kilel managed to win with a hundred meter sprint at the very end, to just edge out Desiree Davila with her 2:22:36, and Desiree’s 2:22:38. Now that’s some great running, and I’m really happy to see Desiree running so well.

She’s had a great year up to this point, and I really expect her to do well at the marathon trials next January in Houston.

Kara Goucher also had a great race. She ran 5th place. After coming back, she was a little further back in the pack when she passed us at Heartbreak Hill. She ran a 1:01 PR, with her 2:24:52.

So all in all, Americans did really well. I was really excited to see everybody as they went by, and especially to hear the results. It was a fast day. A lot of my friends ran some PR’s and some really fast times.

So if you ran Boston this year, I hope you had a great race. I look forward to seeing everybody out there for 116th running.

You can see all of the photos that I took from the course here: http://r2w.us/2011bostonphotos