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Monday, April 19, 2010

Boston Marathon Race Day: April 19, 2010 Part Two

 view of the finish line of the 2010 Boston Marathon taken from The Lenox Hotel
Race day in Boston was amazing! From very early on there were people on Boylston Street milling around and making final preparations. We had many options for filming; the view from my room at the Lenox Hotel offered a prime spot facing the finish line, they also invited us to their rooftop party which had an incredible view of Boylston Street approaching the finish line and beyond and we also could get down on the street near the bleachers and shoot from there as well. We started the morning capturing the run Catherine did with Joan Benoit Samuelson. Our Boston DP, Russ Jaquith, followed them on his bicycle and filmed them during a light run along the Charles River. The footage looks amazing! They got back from their run just in time for the womens' start. Catherine watched the race with her friend Helen and Lisa in a lounge reserved for managers and coaches of the elite athletes. At 11:20 am a reporter from WBZ interviewed Catherine just beyond the finish line and asked her about her injury and missing the race. As usual, she was completely gracious and upbeat. 

Unfortunately, since we were working we did not get to see much of the race but what we did catch was exciting and we heard bits and pieces of the commentary. It was very exciting on all fronts and amazing to see Ernst Van Dyk win his 9th title in the men's wheelchair division, Robert Cheruiyot set the course record in the men's race and Teyba Erkesso hold on to a commanding lead to win the women's race. Being right there in the midst of all the commotion near the finish line was incredible and the atmosphere was electric! We went over to the Fairmont Copley and Catherine was with Helen in the lobby waiting for their friends to come in from the course. Salina Kosgei, last year's winner of the women's race, came in third and Catherine was there to greet and congratulate her as well as the other winners. Even though she hadn't run today, many people approached Catherine in the lobby and she greeted them all with warmth and signed autographs or posed for photos with anyone who asked. Lisa went off to greet Moses Kigen Kipgosgei, one of her other athletes who came in 8th in the men's race; he was having a lot of foot pain so they went to have the podiatrist look at it.  Catherine and Helen waited in the lobby. They were sitting on a sofa and Denise Robson's mother was right next to them when she learned that Denise had won the women's masters race! It was so awesome to watch the emotion well up and overtake her; the proud mama! I was glad to hear that Denise won; she was awesome!

Around 1pm we went back to The Lenox to film from the room and the roof and get some nice shots of people crossing the finish line.  
view from the roof of The Lenox Hotel
There was a big marathon party going on all day at the Lenox and the energy at the place was a lot of fun and made our job more fun too! 
Boston DP Russ Jaquith films from top of The Lenox Hotel
After getting some nice footage of the finish line we went back to the Fairmont Copley because there were still some interviews we wanted to do. I really wanted an interview with Joan Benoit Samuelson since she has actually been an inspiration to Catherine! I was finally able to grab a quick interview with her and that was really important to me especially since she had such a busy schedule all week! I also did a follow up interview with Jacqueline Gareau who was the official winner of the 1980 Boston Marathon and was only recognized after Rosie Ruiz was exposed as a fraud for jumping into the race with only one mile to go; another amazing lady at 57 years old who ran today on the 30th anniversary of her win!

We wrapped up late and headed over to the John Hancock post race party where the elite athletes, John Hancock employees and other race officials were. There were some nice speeches on behalf of John Hancock's 25th anniversary of sponsoring the Boston Marathon and all of the athletes were introduced. It was quite a gathering of impressive talent! Afterwards, the athletes were taken to a different party on the same floor; this was a party for all of the great volunteers who work so hard to help out with the marathon. The athletes were introduced one by one and a few of them spoke to the volunteers including the winners and American's Ryan Hall (4th) and Meb Keflezighi (5th) . I am always amazed when Catherine gives an impromptu speech; she always sounds so eloquent and thanked the sponsors, the BAA and especially all of the volunteers. Just having Catherine there and being asked to speak spoke volumes about her place in the history of the Boston Marathon. When that part was finished it was late and Lisa, Helen and Catherine wanted to get back to the hotel. It took about a half hour just to say goodbyes because people kept coming up and asking to have their photo taken with Catherine and she was all too happy to pose with them. 

Catherine poses for photos with fans at the John Hancock post race party

Helen grabs a photo with 4th place American Ryan Hall
By the time I got back to my hotel, I was exhausted; (I can't complain about how much my feet hurt because I didn't run the marathon so I won't!) I wanted to make sure I was packed before hitting the bed so I wouldn't have to get up extra early :) I was up at 7 in order finish packing and meet my college friend, Robin, for breakfast. It was fun to get to see her again!

I wanted to start my drive back to Philly between 11 and noon but was waiting to hear from Lisa first because with so many flights routing through London being canceled I knew there was a chance Catherine and Moses would need a ride back to Philly. Sure enough, the flight they were scheduled on back to Kenya was canceled. So, I ended up having company for the ride back! I do feel badly for them though; they were planning on heading home to Kenya. It was nice not driving alone though! We made great time and fortunately did not hit any traffic at all! We made the drive in just over 5 1/2 hours. As much as I love having Catherine here, I hope she is able to get a flight in the next day or two; Jane Murage (see previous blog entries or the trailer) is getting married on Saturday and Catherine is the maid of honor; I know she is extremely anxious to get back in time so as not to disappoint Jane.

Overall, the Boston week was an amazing experience! It was nice to meet many of the people I've spoken to on the phone or emailed with, I met athletes of all ages and abilities, saw some college friends I hadn't seen in years and got great material for WinCatherine! The Lenox Hotel made the experience even better; they were so accommodating, friendly and couldn't do enough for us. The people at John Hancock were also amazing and were extremely supportive! 

Now it is back to work in the office and time to do more fundraising; we need to get all this footage logged in but need to raise enough money to get it done! Please remind your friends and any companies you know that can help with donations or sponsorships and ask them to go to to contribute to this film! Thank you!


  1. Can you believe, Stefani, that as I entered the elevator at the Marriott Hotel in Boston, who should come right in but Catherine herself. It was a moment that was meant to be. Who would have thought this would happen? I asked her right off if she was Catherine and she said, yes and asked me my name. We shook hands. It was one of those moments I will never forget. I've been dying to tell you this story...

  2. When was this? Were you in Boston this year?


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