On the day of the Boston Marathon, the entire city of Boston basically has a drinking holiday. From your freshman year to your senior year, you’re trained to know that when the marathon is happening, you have a day off and that everybody is going to get “totally shitfaced.” You start drinking in the morning, and keep drinking, and keep drinking… The goal is to be drunk and run outside to watch the marathon runners go through, as the marathon route goes through their campus.
People plan their drinking out the night before, and smuggle booze by the finish line. People don’t cheer the marathon runners for more than about an hour after the first people pass through, but the entire city is essentially in celebration.
The informant lives in Los Angeles now, but had previously been a student at Boston University for 3.5 years. Though he chose not to recount the events that happened during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, he still engages with Marathon Monday in a positive way, though he missed the 2014 marathon because he was in Los Angeles.
The informant shared this with me in conversation.
There are actually a lot of exceptions when it comes to American public “drinking holidays” — sports games and Independence Day between two of them. With the Boston Marathon, which is a sport event tied into a city celebration, the emotional connection residents feel with the race is extremely strong. I really love the fact that Boston residents can still celebrate the event even in the face of tragedy, and have rallied around both the marathon organization and the city itself.