At Wellesley, Students Scream as Boston Marathon Returns, But No Smooches

Screams can be heard from a block away.

As the route curves around Central Street in front of Wellesley College, a small private liberal arts college that sits halfway through the Boston Marathon, hundreds of students cheer so loudly that the route is known as the Scream Tunnel. .

Signs adorn the barricades across the street saying, “Hey ck run your little buns off!” Saying things like, “Sarah Frey’s struggle today isn’t real!” and “You’re halfway there!”

But this year part of the beloved tradition is different, written on a handful of signs above students’ heads. “Don’t kiss me,” they read with a playful twist.

Since the beginning of the race, the encouragement and kisses given at Wellesley have been a hallmark of the race, giving runners an extra boost to advance in the remaining half of the race.

This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Boston Athletic Association strongly encouraged participants and spectators to practice “personal responsibility”, which could include “avoiding kissing a stranger around the halfway point”, organizers said. Wrote.

Other traditions, such as playful signs, don’t make it nearly as well.

Sidney Ashford, House President of Munger Hall, Residence, said, “We just started school, and I didn’t know what Wellesley’s or the BAA’s rules would be for the audience, so I was crossing the line between taking requests. ” The hall that is responsible for the signals.

Although people messaged Scream Tunnel’s Facebook page, Ashford and other volunteers didn’t officially open the request form until mid-September. Ashford said he made more than 300 signs, including “Go, sexy grandpa, go” and “Baby’s first marathon,” at the behest of family and friends of runners who are pregnant, Ashford said.

Monday’s race also marked the underclassmen’s first Marmon – or Marathon Monday – after the pandemic forced organizers to cancel the race in 2020 and postpone it to 2021.

“It’s wild,” 20-year-old Karishma Gottfried said Monday of experiencing her first marathon as a junior. “I had no idea how exciting it would be. I have my hands sticky with the sweat of all the runners high-fiving me.”

As the runners zoomed in, Wellesley’s students shouted and cheered, high-fives the contestants and erupted kisses. And while face-to-face contact was all but absent, there were some who did not follow the rules.

One student wore a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” sign on top of her head and managed to get a beak from a runner when she passed. The cheers, which were already deaf, intensified.

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