by Celina Colby

Patriots Day Weekend is fast approaching, and Brookline is entrenched in preparations for the 128th Boston Marathon. While many locals craft encouraging signs to wave as runners go by and restaurants shake up specialty cocktails inspired by the festivities, Brookline locals Eric Emmons and David Krakauer prepare to run the race.

Emmons was drawn to the marathon because of the course’s challenge and the way the event brings locals together. “It’s known as a very hard race, given Heartbreak Hill, and it seems a relatively unique challenge,” says Emmons. And since the 2013 bombings incident, it also seems to be something that is now more than ever part of Boston’s culture.”

The Boston Marathon is the oldest annual marathon in the world and has won global acclaim. This year, around 30,000 runners representing more than 100 countries will hit the pavement on the storied course.

Both Emmons and Krakauer are running on behalf of Pine Street Inn. Emmons can’t quite recall if he’s run four or five Boston Marathons (he’s going with four to be safe). Still, they’ve all supported Pine Street Inn, the organization combatting homelessness through a permanent housing program, emergency shelter, street outreach, and workforce development.

“This is my tenth year running for Pine Street Inn,” says Krakauer. I continue to be impressed by their approach to addressing all the causes of homelessness. Their focus on providing permanent supportive housing is a game changer.”  

The path as a runner was almost a foregone conclusion for Emmons, whose mother directed the Atlanta Olympic Marathon in 1996 and ran 20 marathons in total. Racing is a family legacy. Emmons has run several other marathons, including the San Diego Marathon, the San Francisco Marathon, and the New York City Marathon.

He says Boston differs from New York because the course isn’t always in densely populated areas. Though town centers are full of cheering supporters, there are swaths of the Boston course, particularly before Brookline, where the runners are on their own. That makes the cheering crowds in the last few miles much more impactful.

It really is encouraging to see people lining the race course,” says Emmons. “Many people, including myself, we do write our names on our jerseys. And especially after mile 18, personal words of encouragement really do keep you moving for those last eight miles.

26.2 miles is a Herculean effort, but Emmons jokes that the most challenging part of the race is walking down the stairs to take the T back to Brookline afterward. Talk about leg day soreness.