Patriot’s Day in a Ghost Town: Hopkinton still waits to host the Marathon’s start


Kate Lagassé

Marathon runner passes by in 2019 race

Tens of thousands of runners have been preparing for the famous Marathon Monday. The big day was originally scheduled for tomorrow, but, the starting line, Hopkinton’s claim to fame, will not be painted and ready until September.

The annual race that easily doubles this small town’s population is but a faint thought. The excited buzz to host runners from all around the world has become an uncomfortable murmur at the thought of such a concentration of people.

The ultimate goal now for these training athletes and townspeople: stay safe until the race does arrive.

The bigger question on everyone’s mind: just how long we will be recommended to stay indoors?

Dr. Harvey Fineberg, a former president of the National Academy of Medicine pictures the nation in quarantine for months. Those more vulnerable to Covid-19, even longer.

In a New York Times article, Donald G. McNeil Jr. emphasizes that the course of events is up to us.

“It will also depend on how individual Americans behave in the interim. If we scrupulously protect ourselves and our loved ones, more of us will live.”

According to the Times, Covid-19 is now arguably, the leading cause of death in the nation. More than 1,800 Americans have died every day since early April.

“If you don’t know how many people are infected, you don’t know how deadly a virus is,” McNeil Jr said.

The fast-paced growth of cases has only prompted more attempts at a successful vaccine.

According to The Guardian, 78 vaccine projects are in progress around the world.

But as Professor Adam Finn of Bristol University implies, testing a vaccine is not as simple as it seems.

“Young people might jump at the opportunity to join such a trial but this is a virus that does kill the odd young person. We don’t know why yet.”

And besides the possibility of an unwanted death, deliberately giving someone the illness, is controversial.

In an NBC interview with Dr. Michael Saag, a medical professional experiencing the virus first-hand, he emphasizes that no treatment has been proven to work yet.

And while there’s optimism that things could return to normal this year, there’s still the threat of a second wave.

“It could crash worse than the first, killing tens of thousands of people who did such a good job of sheltering in place they remain virgin ground for the virus,” said Molly Stellino, a USA Today reporter.

Tomorrow morning, there will not be the same bustle in the heart of Hopkinton. Food trucks and small shops will not cluster on the Common. Families, instead of crowding along the road, will stay hunkered in their homes.

Despite the empty streets and quiet air, tomorrow there will still be the hope that in September, the picture-perfect beginning to the 26.2 mile-race, will be right outside the window.