Dan Rech just wanted a burger.
The 40-year-old from Lexington who works in IT at Beth Israel Deaconess had just finished his 13th Boston Marathon. He was wrapped in one of those silver blankets on Boston Common, walking toward the T. He finished in 3:05. It wasn’t a personal best, but then Monday was not a day for those. There were winds, lashing rain and cold temperatures, to say nothing of the harshest winter in recent memory that complicated training for many runners.
“I’m pretty (expletive) freezing,” said Rech, when asked how he felt.
Rech said his plans to spend time with his wife and kids and to chow down on a burger.
“Coming down Boylston, it felt great,” he said. “But that feeling is usually followed by the question ‘Why do I do this to myself?’”
Crowds lined the parade route, ringing cowbells and cheering on the thousands of marathoners for hours. Near Kenmore Square, the wind swept down Commonwealth Avenue, occasionally flipping an umbrella inside out. Signs ranged from the patriotic – American, Canadian and Venezuelan flags – to the encouraging -- “You can do it Horacio!” – to the quizzical – “Where is everyone going?”
Families scrambled to put on ponchos once the rain started to fall. People wielding smart phones were propped up on their friends shoulders to get a clean shot of the runners.
There were several security checkpoints along the sidewalk where police searched bags. Large DPW trucks blocked side streets that intersected with the route.
Kim Schroer, a 22-year-old recent Boston College said she came back from Washington D.C., where she works as a paralegal, for the race.
“It’s the greatest day to be in Boston,” she said near Copley Square.
Tim Brien agreed.
“It’s the best day to take off from work,” he said.
Brien, a 40-year-old who lives in the South End and works for a solar panel company, brought his dog , Bluto, to Copley, where kids took selfies with the two-and-a-half-year Olde English bulldog.
Brien acknowledged the heightened security along the route, saying he poured his beer into a coffee thermos to get it past a police checkpoint.
“It’s way harder to get around now,” he said.
Kelly Gifford, a thirtysomething who lives in Boston and works at a local Starbucks, said she was at a Star Market a few blocks from where the bombs went off two years ago.
“It sounded like a building fell down then I saw everyone running,” she said after her bag was inspected by authorities near the finish line. “There’s definitely more security now.”
Chris Friel, a 41-year-old attorney who made the trek from Warwick, Rhode Island to support five friends who were running the race, said the same energy surrounded the race, even with the heightened security.
“I don’t think the vibe has changed at all,” he said.
Christa Huot, a 28-year-old who works as a tech rep for a running company in Providence, stood on top of a riser near L’Espalier and searched the stream of runners on Boylston Street for her 36-year-old boyfriend from Denver, Colorado. Yes, she said, the altitude of the Rockies helps with training, but with the 20 mile per hour headwind, she was unsure he would break three hours, which was his goal.
“The energy seems stronger. The crowds seem less dense, but the energy seems stronger,” she said. “The security is on point. I wouldn’t change a thing.”