Brewing a new tradition in Boston

If Dave Emilio wanted water in the Boston marathon, he could ask for it.

Toronto Beaches Runners president Dave Emilio, left, stops mid-marathon for a quick sip of Sam Adams with his "Boston Beer Buddy" Danny Langan on April 20. When Emilio was hobbled by a hip injury the year before, Langan cheered him on with a beer and the offer of a ride. PHOTO: Submitted
Toronto Beaches Runners president Dave Emilio, left, stops mid-marathon for a quick sip of Sam Adams with his “Boston Beer Buddy” Danny Langan on April 20. When Emilio was hobbled by a hip injury the year before, Langan cheered him on with a beer and the offer of a ride.
PHOTO: Submitted

But when Emilio runs by mile 10 in Boston, he knows to ask for something else: ice-cold beer.

At 47, Emilio has run 36 marathons, six of them in Boston, where runners need fast times just to qualify.

Last year, a bad tear in his upper-thigh muscle forced Emilio to stop running just after mile 10.

As he fell behind the first wave of runners, Emilio heard a fan on the sidelines yell, “Come on, Canada!”

That fan was Danny Langan, a Bostonian who organizes a front-yard cheering party at every marathon.

Emilio limped over, and told Langan why he was walking. He asked for directions to the nearest downtown train.

But Langan wouldn’t let him hobble to the station alone.

He couldn’t take Emilio himself – the house was on the wrong side of the course – but Langan said his buddy in the yellow house up the street could do it.

“All you had to say was, ‘Danny sent ya,’ and he’d drive you,” said Emilio. “They seem like such a nice community, that wouldn’t even be questioned.”

“It was like, ‘Oh, runner in distress – we’ll take care of him.”

As it happened, Emilio wouldn’t need a drive.

Before he got on the road again, Emilio did something not found in most marathon training guides – he asked for a beer.

Langan was happy to oblige. Someone snapped a photo of the two them grinning with suds in hand.

Cheered, Emilio walked right by Langan’s friend’s house, and actually finished the race with a limping jog.

Once he got home to the Beach, where he is president of the Toronto Beaches Runners Club, Emilio wanted to send Langan a thank-you.

“It took me a full year to get in touch with him,” he said.

Eventually, Emilio found what looked like the house where Langan was using Google Maps. He mailed a thank-you letter to it, addressed to “My Boston Beer Buddy.”

Later, Langan found Emilio on Facebook, and invited him to stop by again this year.

This time, when Emilio ran by mile 10, Langan and his kids were waiting with welcome signs for the Canadian runner, plus an extra-large bottle of Sam Adams beer.

“He handed it to me and I said, ‘Dude – there’s no way I can drink that this year,” said Emilio, laughing.

He was actually recovering from the same injury, but had managed to stay on pace. Still, he took a big sip, and stayed for a minute to quickly catch up.

Emilio said all year he thought all the thank-you’s were his to make – every time he saw that photo of their race-side beer, he wanted to thank Langan for being a great sport.

But in an interview with Yahoo Sports, Langan said the cheering up went both ways.

Last year’s Boston marathon was the first after the bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260 others. It had a tense start, Langan said, given all the extra police needed to keep it secure.

Splitting a beer with Emilio was a welcome return to what Langan said he enjoys most about the marathon – sharing the joy of the thousands of runners who pass by.

Emilio hopes to run in Boston again next year after qualifying at the Buffalo marathon this May.

But even if he can’t run the race, Emilio said he’s got big plans for it.

“I’ll be in the cheering section,” he said. “I’ve already told Danny I’ll be there.”


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