In Boston, a celebration of running

Kenny Ames runs Monday's Boston Marathon. Courtesy of Kenny Ames
Kenny Ames runs Monday’s Boston Marathon. Courtesy of Kenny Ames

After running a little more than three hours, Kenny Ames crossed the finish line at Monday’s Boston Marathon and began eating from his box of Passover Tam Tams.

Ames wouldn’t have minded celebrating with a beer, but due to the holiday, he went with “the little crackers for Passover that are so awesome.”

The 118th Boston Marathon was the third for this D.C. resident. He finished, but didn’t meet his goal of running the 26.2 mile course in under three hours.

“I do think Passover affected me this time. I was not able to carbo load,” Ames, 36, said, referring to his normal heapings of pasta before a race. Instead, he digested lots of potatoes, apples, bananas and yogurt.

“I definitely felt tired earlier than I normally do,” he added, “To me, it’s more important to observe the holiday than to run a marathon.”

For Jewish Washington-area runners at the marathon, Passover was just another hurdle to cross. A year after the bombing that killed three and wounded more than 250, Ames and others saw a city that boasted extra security and heightened pride.

Ames’ parents waited for him at the finish line, just as they had last year.

Fortunately, in 2013 he finished the race about 85 minutes before the bombs went off “so we were long out of the city.” While he didn’t witness any of the devastation, the human toll still weighed on his mind.

“This is so much attached to it. I’m going to have to keep my emotions intact,” he said several days before Monday’s race. The Brookland resident generally runs 50 to 60 miles a week.

There was more security this time. Because runners weren’t allowed to leave bags around, the warm-up jacket and pants that he wore when he first got to the athletes’ village about three hours before race time had to be thrown away, he said.

Warren Margolies of Bethesda also noticed the increased security. ”They were really adamant that you had to show your bib number” when walking around the athletes’ village, he said. He also noticed “snipers on the roof of the middle school.”

Margolies, 33, also saw “a heightened sense of pride in the city. You saw so many Boston Pride shirts.” He called the 2014 Boston Marathon, his second one, “a celebration of running.” The real estate attorney, who has now run five marathons, said Monday’s race was “very special. It seemed like the right thing to do after last year. I feel honored to be there.”

He also was pleased with his time of two hours, 50 minutes and 31 seconds, noting, “I did well.”

Margolies usually runs 45 minutes to an hour every day. “I just clear my head. I can think things through,” he said. Running gives him “inner peace, peace of mind. It gives sort of order and discipline to my life.”

Scott Zoback also was among the marathon’s 35,671 entrants. The 31-year-old had two strong reasons to run in this year’s race. He joined a team supporting Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where his father was a patient for four years before he passed away in 2007.

But Zoback, press secretary for U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), also wanted to return to Boston after witnessing the bombing as a spectator at last year’s race. “I was diagonally across the street from the second bomb,” he said.

When the first bomb exploded, he and his friends weren’t sure what happened. “But when the second one went off, we knew this was purposeful. People started running, trampling,” he recalled. Despite that, Zoback said he had “zero” concerns about security while running through the streets of Boston on Monday.

“The deeds of a couple aren’t going to change how we as a state feel,” the Worcester, Mass., native declared. He was proud of how the crowd “was urging you on at every point. The way Massachusetts came out for this race, it was definitely emotional out there.”

He’s glad he ran, although he said the heat took a toll on his time. So did Passover. “I have never eaten more potatoes in a week than I did” prior to the race, he said. Zoback was happy this year to be able to eat the grain quinoa, which is new to the Passover menu.

Two family seders also created a challenge to his training schedule. However, “There are always hurdles to overcome,” he said. “A little family Seder isn’t going to get in the way of six months of training.”

All his emotions and training culminated in having a medal placed around his neck. “There is no feeling like it in the world,” he said.

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